Missiles, troops installed at Syrian border
As fears grow in the West that Syrian President Bashar Assad will use chemical weapons as an act of desperation, NATO moved forward on Thursday with its plan to place Patriot missiles and troops along Syria's border with Turkey to protect against potential attacks.
Assad's regime blasted the move as “psychological warfare,” saying the new deployment would not deter it from seeking victory over rebels it views as terrorists.
The missile deployment sends a clear message to Assad that consequences will follow if he uses chemical weapons or strikes NATO member Turkey, which backs the rebels seeking his ouster. But its limited scope also reflects the low appetite in Western capitals for direct military intervention in the civil war.
The United States and many European and Arab countries called for Assad to step down early in the uprising but have struggled to make that happen. Russia and China have protected Assad from censure by the U.N. Security Council, and the presence of extremists among the rebels makes the United States and others nervous about arming them.
In Dublin, Ireland, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Russia's foreign minister and the U.N. peace envoy to the Arab country for three-way talks that suggested Washington and Moscow were working toward a common strategy as the Assad regime weakens.
The diplomatic efforts to end the civil war occur days after NATO agreed to post Patriot missiles and troops along Turkey's southern border with Syria after mortars and shells from Syria killed five Turks.
“Events on the ground in Syria are accelerating, and we see that in many different ways,” Clinton said, before the meeting. “The pressure against the regime in and around Damascus seems to be increasing. We've made it clear what our position is with respect to chemical weapons,” which President Obama called a “red line” that would trigger U.S. intervention.
Germany's cabinet approved the move on Thursday, and German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters that the overall mission is expected to include two batteries each from the Netherlands and the United States, plus 400 soldiers and monitoring aircraft.
“Nobody knows what such a regime is capable of and that is why we are acting protectively here,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
The Assad regime said the NATO deployment would not make Assad change course, calling the talk of chemical weapons part of a conspiracy to justify future intervention.
“The Turkish step and NATO's support for it are provocative moves that constitute psychological warfare,” Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said in an interview with Lebanon's Al-Manar TV.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- After U.S. indictments, Chinese military scalesc back hacks on American industry
- Pope Francis visits mosque in war-torn Central African Republic, calls for end to conflict
- World leaders show willingness to act at climate change summit
- Burned-out van belonged to missing Australians, Mexican prosecutors say
- Israeli court convicts two Jewish teenagers in 2014 killing of Palestinian youth
- Boko Haram destroys Nigerian military base; 107 troops MIA
- Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion law ‘breaches human rights,’ court rules
- Obama: Climate pact an ‘act of defiance’ after Paris attacks
- Palestinian artist who appealed blasphemy sentence of 800 lashes, prison sentenced to execution
- Senators call for 20,000 more troops in Syria and Iraq
- French lawmakers vote to continue airstrikes against Islamic State