NATO foreign ministers are expected to discuss Turkey’s request for the deployment of Patriot missiles along its border with Syria. Before announcing their approval during a meeting in the Belgian capital Brussels on Tuesday, the ministers are to hold a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov is expected to reaffirm Moscow’s opposition to foreign intervention in Syria.
Last month, the Russian foreign minister said the move by Turkey could spark regional conflagration and an armed conflict involving NATO as well.According to Turkish sources, NATO launched a new military base in the country’s western province of Izmir earlier this week. Reports indicate that a NATO delegation has also visited the southeastern Turkish province of Sanliurfa to investigate possible sites for the missiles. On November 21, Ankara formally asked NATO to deploy the surface-to-air Patriot missiles on its border with Syria. In response, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance would consider the Turkish request "without delay." On November 23, Damascus censured Ankara's plan to deploy the Patriot missiles along the Syrian border, calling it another act of provocation by the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. SZH/PKH/SS