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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid