15 February 2013, 12:48

Patriot missiles don’t target Syria – NATO

Patriot missiles don’t target Syria – NATO

NATO has reassured Moscow that the Patriot missile systems were not deployed to southern Turkey in preparation for a possible military invasion of Syria, Russia’s deputy foreign minister Alexei Meshkov.

He said Washington had vowed the Patriot air defense systems, deployed on the Turkish-Syrian border, wouldn’t be used to set up a no-fly zone above the crisis-hit region.

Russia hopes Patriot missiles in Turkey will be used only for defense 

Moscow hopes that the Patriot air defense systems deployed on the Turkish-Syrian border will not be used for other purposes than the defense of Turkish territory, Russian ambassador to Ankara Vladimir Ivanovsky has said.

"You mentioned different scenarios of the possible use of Patriot systems that circulated in the media. One of the reasons for that is that part of the observers, as you said, have certain doubts to this end given the current complex situation. We would not want them to materialize and the complexes be used for other purposes than the defense of Turkish territory," he said in an interview with Interfax.

That is how the diplomat commented on the existing opinion that the Patriots deployed in Turkey may be a step to a foreign intervention in Syria or may be aimed against Iran or Russia.

"We do not dispute Turkey's right to take adequate measures to guarantee their security. At the same time we believe that the appearance of any additional armaments in hotspots as President Vladimir Putin said during his visit to Turkey in December 2012 will not strengthen security but is only capable of increasing tension," he said.

"As is said it is important to pay attention to potentials, not intentions," the ambassador added.

Asked about the attitude of Turkish society to Ankara's stance on Syria and the deployment of Patriot missiles on the border Ivanovsky said: "It is difficult and apparently inappropriate for me as the ambassador of Russia to comment on public sentiments in the country of my stay. Naturally we are monitoring them."

"I can only say that the spectrum of opinions is quite wide and feelings favoring the speedy settlement of the Syrian internal conflict by peaceful means without foreign interference are especially apparent," he added. 

Patriot systems put on combat duty in Turkey 

All of the six Patriot surface-to-air missile systems deployed by NATO in Turkey’s Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras and Adana provinces have been put on combat duty, the Anatolia News Agency reports.

Ankara claims it needs the Patriot systems to ward off potential aggression by Syria.

Damascus sees this as a hostile move.

Voice of Russia, Interfax, TASS

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