MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned Thursday against Turkey’s intention to deploy Patriot missiles on its border with Syria.
“Militarization of the Turkish-Syrian border is an alarming signal,” said ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. “Our advice to our Turkish colleagues is to use their influence on the Syrian opposition to draw them closer to dialogue, instead of flexing muscles and turning the situation into a dangerous route.”
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that Turkey’s request to deploy the missiles would be considered soon. Ankara says the missile system is necessary to protect its border with conflict-torn Syria.
Individual NATO countries that have available Patriot systems – Germany, the Netherlands and the United States – are to decide on their own if they will provide them for deployment in Turkey.
Turkey has opened fire several times across its border with Syria in retaliation for Syrian shelling, which killed five Turkish civilians in October.
US Patriot surface-to-air missiles were deployed to Turkey in 1991 and 2003, during the two Gulf Wars.
Lukashevich also denied Russian media reports saying that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was planning to meet on November 26 with the Syrian opposition.
Since its start in March 2011, the Syrian conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, according to various Syrian opposition groups. The UN puts the death toll at at least 30,000 people.