NATO rules out using Patriots to help Syrian rebels

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 27, 2013
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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday that the alliance would not use its Patriot missiles deployed in Turkey to help Syrian opposition defend northern parts of the violence-torn country.

"We have no plans to change the purpose of the deployed Patriot missiles. We make it clear from the outset that this deployment of Patriot missiles is purely defensive and we have no offensive intentions," he told reporters at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

The remarks came one day after Syrian opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib said he had asked the United States to use Patriot batteries against Syrian warplanes in rebel-controlled northern Syria.

Three NATO countries have deployed six Patriot batteries in Turkey along the Turkish-Syrian border as a protection from any incoming missile attacks from Syria.

"We are there to ensure effective defense and protection of the Turkish people and territory," Rasmussen said. "We consider that as a core task of NATO to protect our allies. We stick to that declaration when we decided to deploy the Patriot missiles."

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