BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO members have agreed to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems near Turkey's southern border.
The systems will boost Turkey's defenses against the threat of cross-border attacks from Syria.
The alliance's 28 members decided today that the missiles could be used solely for the purpose of warding off mortar rounds and shells from Syria that have already killed five Turks.
The announcement also appeared aimed at sending a message to Syria's Bashar Assad, at a time when the U.S. and others believe Syria may be getting its chemical weapons stockpiles ready for possible use.
But NATO's secretary general says the deployment of the Patriot systems won't be a first step toward a no-fly zone over parts of Syria.
It's not clear if any American soldiers will have to be deployed with the Patriot systems, which include missiles, radar and other elements.
180-a-06-(NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (AHN'-derz FOHG RAHS'-moo-sihn), at news conference)-"any offensive operation"-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the Patriot deployment is purely to defend Turkey. ((cut in wrap)) (4 Dec 2012)
<<CUT *180 (12/04/12)>> 00:06 "any offensive operation"
178-w-30-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent, with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (AHN'-derz FOHG RAHS'-moo-sihn))--The U.S. and its NATO allies have crept closer to the Syrian civil war. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (4 Dec 2012)
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