BRUSSELS - The head of NATO said on Tuesday the military alliance had plans in place to defend Turkey against attack if needed.

"We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary," Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters before a meeting of the alliance's defense ministers in Brussels.

Following Syrian gunfire and shelling, NATO ambassadors threw their support behind Turkey in an emergency meeting last week. Turkish forces have retaliated against the bombardment from northern Syria, where President Bashar Assad's forces are battling rebels.

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