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Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:1PM
File photo shows Patriot missile defense system.

File photo shows Patriot missile defense system.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says Ankara’s request for the deployment of NATO missiles near the Syrian border will only aggravate the crisis in Syria. In response to a question about Turkey’s move, Ramin Mehmanparast said, “This issue [request] will not help the Syrian crisis and will only complicate the situation and make it more difficult.” Mehmanparast stressed that insisting on a military solution for the Syrian issue is the main cause of tensions and threats escalating in the region and it would be better for influential countries to look for political solutions for regional issues. Turkey has officially made its request to NATO for the deployment of Patriot systems along its border with Syria. Ankara claims that the deployment would only be defensive and that it would not “support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.” Tensions between Turkey and its southern neighbor soared in early October when shells coming from Syria landed in the Turkish border town of Akcakale killing five civilians. Turkey retaliated against the deadly incident by shelling targets in Syria for several days. At least 10 Syrian troops were reportedly killed by Turkish fire. Ankara already hosts another NATO missile system it calls the early warning radar system in the Kürecik Province of Malatya in Eastern Anatolia. The country had twice before requested the deployment of Patriot system, both during the first and second Iraq wars in the 1990s and 2000s. In both cases, deployments were carried out by the Netherlands, one of the few NATO members equipped with the system. Patriot is a long-range, all-altitude and all-weather system employed to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft. PG/HGH/SS
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