Syria Slams Turkey’s NATO Missiles Bid
Syria on Friday condemned Turkey’s request for NATO to deploy Patriot defence missiles near their common border, calling it “provocative”, after a spate of fighting there that has raised fears of the Syrian civil war embroiling the wider region.
In the first Syrian response to Ankara’s request earlier this week, a ministry source told Syrian state television that Damascus would hold Turkey’s prime minister responsible for increasing tensions along the frontier.
The 20-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has grown increasingly bloody and heavy clashes often erupt right along Syria’s northern border with Turkey. Ankara has repeatedly scrambled fighter jets and responded in kind to stray shells flying into its territory.
Turkey’s missile request may have riled Damascus and its allies because it could be seen as a first step toward implementing a no-fly zone. Syrian rebels have been requesting one to help them hold territory against a government with overwhelming firepower from the air, but which most foreign governments are loath to impose for fear of getting sucked into the conflict.