NATO edging toward Syria intervention: Russia

MOSCOW: Russia has criticized NATO for deciding to deploy Patriot missiles along the Turkish border with Syria, saying that the measure signifies the organization’s bid to intervene in the Syrian crisis.

Russia’s new ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, made the remarks on Friday, three days after the 28-member alliance approved Turkey’s request for the deployment of the surface-to-air missiles along its border with Syria.  

“This is not a threat to us, but this is an indication that NATO is moving towards engagement and that’s it,” Grushko told reporters.

“We see a danger of further involvement of NATO into the situation in Syria as a result of provocation or some border incidents,” Grushko added.  

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had earlier warned that the deployment could spark regional conflagration and an armed conflict involving NATO.  

Grushko also rejected claims that Damascus plans to use its alleged chemical weapons against insurgents fighting government forces.  

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad has described NATO’s decision to station Patriot missiles in Turkey as “provocative.”  

“The Turkish move and NATO’s support for it is a provocative move, part of psychological warfare against Syria,” Meqdad said on Thursday.  

The Syrian official also stressed that the missile deployment would not affect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s firm determination to counter the “terrorists” fighting against his government.  

Furthermore, Meqdad warned against the “catastrophic” consequences of any military intervention in Syria.  

China has also stated that the deployment does not contribute to peace and stability in the region. 

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