Turkey reassures Russia that Patriot missiles will be used only for defensive purposes. (File photo)
Turkey says NATO Patriot missiles will not be deployed right at its border with Syria in a move to reassure Russia that the surface-to-air missiles will only be used for defensive purposes.
"We want to keep the missiles away from the border in order not to cause any misunderstanding with Russia and to make it clear that their deployment is purely to defend Turkish territory," said a diplomatic source in the Turkish capital city of Ankara on Monday.
According to the source, the location for the installation of US-made Patriot missiles is very important.
"The Patriots will be deployed more than 10 kilometers (six miles) away from the border but this will not compromise on the effectiveness of the system," the source added.
On December 4, the NATO military alliance approved Turkey’s request for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles along its border with Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 3 that stationing Patriot missiles near the Turkey-Syria border only “exacerbates” the situation.
“You know, as they say, if a gun is hung on the wall at the start of a play then at the end of the play it will definitely fire,” the Russian president stated.
“Why should we need extra shooting at the border? We are urging restraint.”