Crisis continues as Nato may approve Turkey missile request
It is expected that foreign ministers will approve the deployment of anti-missile weapons to protect Turkey’s border with Syria against chemical weapons. The Patriotic batteries which could be deployed to Turkey would be used to shoot down any Syrian missiles or warplanes that crossed the border.
Intelligence reports suggest chemical weapons have been moved around the country in recent days, causing growing fears that President Assad will use them against the Syrian people.
President Obama has condemned these actions. “The world is watching. The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable,” he stated in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington.
“If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable,” he continued.
The Turks believe that the regime’s Soviet-era scuds and North Korean SS-21 missiles would be aimed at rebel-held areas but could easily stray across the border.
A senior US official was quoted saying:“[T]hey’re doing some things that suggest they intend to use the weapons. It’s not just moving stuff around. These are different kinds of activities.”
However, a Syrian official has insisted the country “would never under any circumstances” use such weapons, “if such weapons exist.”
Meanwhile, in recent days the rebels have succeeded in shooting down a government aircraft with shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, which could be a potential turning point.
Turkish officials remain convinced the best chance of ending the civil war, which has claimed over 50,000 lives, is for Russia to withdraw her support for the Assad regime, forcing him into exile.
The UN have also announced that 25 of the 100 foreign workers in the country will be removed due to the worsening security situation, a final step before a full scale evacuation.