Diplomats: NATO to agree to send Patriots to Turkey

By REUTERS
December 4, 2012 01:12

BRUSSELS - NATO foreign ministers will agree on Tuesday to send Patriot missiles to beef up Turkey's air defenses and calm Turkey's fears that it could come under missile attack, possibly with chemical weapons, from Syria, diplomats said.

Turkey last month asked NATO for Patriots, which can be used to intercept missiles and planes, after weeks of talks with allies about how to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, which is immersed in civil war.

Foreign ministers from the 28-nation alliance are expected to give their backing to the move when they meet in Brussels for a twice-yearly meeting, sending a strong signal they stand behind their ally Turkey.

"There will be a decision and probably a statement from the ministers themselves," a NATO diplomat told reporters.

The move follows media reports, citing European and US officials, that Syria's chemical weapons had been moved and could be prepared for use in response to dramatic gains by rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.


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