Turkey has requested that NATO deploy Patriot missiles along its border to defend against attacks from Syria, NATO's secretary general said Wednesday.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he received a “formal request” from the Turkish government requesting that the alliance provide missile interceptors, citing "the threats and risks posed by the continuing crisis in Syria to our national security."
Rasmussen said that the potential deployment would be discussed “without delay.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Rasmussen said the letter from Turkey requested the air defense elements that would "contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO's south-eastern border" and serve as "a concrete demonstration of alliance solidarity and resolve."
The move would have to be approved by NATO, and the countries that have available Patriot missiles — the United States, Germany and the Netherlands — need to decide whether to deploy them to Turkey and if so, for how long.
Turkey has said that it has no plans to take offensive action against Syria.
The bloody, 19-month conflict between Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces and the Syrian opposition has spilled over the Turkish border. In October, the Turkish government authorized military action against Syria after five Turkish soldiers were killed by mortar rounds launched across the border.