News / Middle East

NATO to Deploy Defensive Missiles to Turkey

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen holds a news conference ahead a two-day NATO foreign ministers at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, December 4, 2012.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen holds a news conference ahead a two-day NATO foreign ministers at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, December 4, 2012.
Al Pessin
— NATO has authorized the deployment of a missile defense system to Turkey in response to the continuing violence in Syria and concern its government might resort to using chemical weapons. Alliance foreign ministers formalized the decision in Brussels on Tuesday. 
 
Officials say three NATO countries will deploy American-made Patriot anti-missile batteries in southeastern Turkey during the next several weeks. Troops from the United States, the Netherlands and Germany are to set up and run the systems, which officials say will be loaded with non-explosive projectiles to intercept incoming short-range missiles. 
 
The computer-controlled system usually has less than a minute-and-a-half to prevent a potentially deadly missile strike.
 
Suspected Syrian Chemical Weapons

Sarin
  • Man-made highly toxic odorless, tasteless, colorless nerve agent
  • Possibly used during Iraq-Iran war
  • Exposure can be by inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption; people can recover with treatment form mild or moderate exposure

VX
  • Odorless, tasteless man-made nerve agent; most potent of all nerve agents
  • Slow to evaporate, can last for days on objects
  • Exposure can be through skin contact or inhalation; people can recover with treatment for mild or moderate exposure

Mustard Gas
  • Chemical warfare agent that causes skin blisters and mucous membranes
  • Sometimes odorless, sometimes smells like garlic, onions or mustard
  • Exposure can be by inhalation, ingestion or skin contact
  • Vapor released in the air can be carried long distances; exposure not usually fatal

Source: CDC
NATO member Turkey first asked for help after Syrian army shells landed on its side of the border in October, near rebel strongholds. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says concerns that Syria's beleaguered government might resort to using chemical weapons against the rebels added urgency to the issue. He called any use of chemical weapons “completely unacceptable,” and said it would cause “an immediate reaction.”
 
NATO officials emphasize that the Patriot system will have no offensive capability, and there is no plan to intervene in the Syrian conflict. A statement issued Tuesday specifies that it is not a first step toward creating a no-fly zone in Syria, which some advocates have called for. 
 
Still, Syria's ally, Russia, has expressed concerns about the deployment. Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the plan during a visit to Istanbul on Monday, saying the October strike was an accident and that Syria's government is in no position to attack its neighbors. 

Secretary General Rasmussen says he and NATO ministers have tried to reassure Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was in Brussels to meet with the NATO foreign ministers. Rasmussen says Russia should not be surprised that NATO is helping to defend an ally, and that the deployment of the anti-missile system could have a positive impact even if it is never used.
 
“Actually, I do believe that a deployment of Patriot missiles will serve as an effective deterrent, and that way deescalate the situation along the Syrian-Turkish border," he said. 

Related video report by Henry Ridgwell:
NATO To Deploy Defensive Missiles on Turkey-Syria Borderi
|| 0:00:00
X
December 05, 2012 1:15 AM
Analysts say the West appears to be moving towards a new phase in its coordinated response to the Syrian conflict, with NATO's decision to deploy a Patriot missile shield along Turkey’s border with Syria, and warnings to Syria against any use of chemical weapons. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
But Foreign Minister Lavrov told reporters the risk to Turkey is overstated and that Russia has checked the various reports of possible Syrian preparations to use its chemical weapons, and believes they are not accurate. He said any use of chemical weapons would be “grave” and unacceptable. And he said Russia has offered to help set up direct communications between Turkey and Syria to reduce the possibility of any misunderstanding.
 
As their meetings continue Tuesday and Wednesday, the NATO ministers are discussing the ongoing mission in Afghanistan. On Monday, the secretary general told visiting Afghan reporters the alliance's commitment to Afghanistan will continue even after its combat role ends in two years. But he said the Afghan government must also fulfill its commitments to the international community to improve governance, fight corruption, protect human rights, including women's rights, and to hold transparent and credible elections in 2014 and 2015.
 
Secretary General Rasmussen said he expects the Afghan security forces to be able to take full responsibility for the country by the end of 2014 as planned, and he repeated that the NATO role will change to support and training only at that time. He said that will be a focus of the foreign ministers' meeting, along with ways to ensure continued foreign funding for the Afghan forces.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cesar Vazquez from: Paramount CA
December 05, 2012 8:11 PM
The Patriot System is only a means. Not a decisive action. The "end" or objective is for Turkey's "defending" allies to be in a position that will bring victory in the event that circumstances escalate. Just as Syria is preparing its rockets to be used as as a means to Syria's own end. All dictators rule with an Iron Fist, or else they would not be dictators. President Bashar Assad's only recourse is to do the only thing he knows to do. Inevitably we all know where this story is headed. Well, at least I do.


by: Noah Olatunde from: Lagos,Nigeria
December 05, 2012 7:27 AM
NATO needs to emply every military means to stop president Assad from using chemical weapons against his people and not unecessary deploying patroit missiles across Turkeish border because it is more or less like inciting syria/Turkey crisis.since Turkey border is widely open for syrian civilian refugee.if Nn DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS failed because of economic interested UNSC is tryin to protect in syria.i do not xpect any things diplomatically possible from UN and NAto


by: Act Before Assad Can Act! from: Dallas
December 05, 2012 6:36 AM
Bravo NATO!
You act really like what you pronounced in defending your allies!
Hopefully, in the near future, NATO, The USA and Free World will not only defend your allies, but also defend all wretched persons in the dictatorial regimes the world over.
This will make our Planet more and more meaningful!
Be careful with Assad!
He is landing in the worst impasse, so he can quite become daring dangerously.
He can use chemical weapons directly, or indirectly by other bad people.
This will make not only Syria, but also The Middle East and the whole world dangerous extremely.
We should try to act before the worst thing can happen anytime, as soon as possible.
We should be always active in oder to break up all Asssad’s dangerous actions in the battle before he can really act.
It's not necessary to respect Putin any longer, he is a very cruel person.
History will never forgive him, if he goes on supporting all serious crimes of Assad!


by: new_york_loner from: new york
December 04, 2012 9:05 AM
Rule Number One at what claims to be, "the voice of America":

1. We do not seek to limit your expression of ideas, but material that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, indecent, abusive, violent, pornographic, threatening, harassing, discriminatory or that constitutes hate speech or is illegal is not allowed and may be deleted at the discretion of the site management. (End quote)

I wonder how the Founders of this secular, pluralistic, constitutional and democratic republic would feel about these arbitrary ground rules.

The British crown considered the American Declaration of Independence to be libelous, defamatory, obscene, indecent, abusive, violent, pornographic, threatening, harassing, discriminatory, hate speech and thoroughly illegal.

The voice of America has been considerably stifled since then.


by: new_york_loner from: new york
December 04, 2012 8:09 AM
I think that the US has enough Holy War on its plate for the time being....if NATO wants to go in and take out the Assad regime's chemical weapons facilities, that's one thing; but a unilateral US strike on Syria's chemical WMD capability is not a good idea, IMO.

The US and Israel have never given a rodent's rectum about the Syrian people before this civil war erupted; our sudden humanitarian interests in Syria are very suspicious.

The real reasons for our concerns about Syrian chemical weapons is the security of the Jewish State in Palestine...we certainly don't want any Jews to be gassed by chemical weapons....when the Kurds got gassed, the US did nothing....if Syrians get gassed, we will howl and protest; but, unless an Israeli or two gets gassed, we will probably just make humanitarian noises from the sidelines.

Americans are very selective with their compassion and sympathy....we have extremely little sympathy for Muslims and Arabs these days....seems like all of our sympathy is reserved for the Jews in Israel.

In Response

by: Glenn Jed from: Rochester, NY
December 05, 2012 7:22 PM
People like you find every excuse to be hatefull. You also seem to have a short memory of who the US has helped in the past 20 to 30 years. It was the US and NATO in the 90's that came to the rescue of the muslim minority when they were being systematically irradicated by Molosavich military machine. Only a year ago, the US, France and Britain intervened hours before Ghadafi and his forces entered Benghazi. Ghadafi had openly professed that he would go door to door and kill the inhabitants of that city. These are actions the West didnt have to do... but we did because it was the right thing to do! So do your homework before leaving hatefull messages.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid