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Iran, Syria, Russia Fight NATO Missiles on Turkish-Syrian Border

Iran is fighting the placement of Patriot defense missiles along the Turkish-Syrian border. So are Syria and Russia.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/25/2012, 4:48 PM

Patriot Missile Battery
Patriot Missile Battery
IDF/Flash 90

Iran is doing everything it can to fight the placement of Patriot defense missiles along the Turkish-Syrian border. So is Syria, Iran's beneficiary, backed by Russia, its other benefactor.

Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has requested deployment of the Patriot anti-missile defense system. Ankara has been looking for ways to beef up defenses along Turkey's 900-kilometer (560-mile) border with Syria.

The request came during talks over how best to prevent further spillover from the ever-intensifying civil war between the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces.

Installation of the system on Turkish soil will “not only not help solve the situation in Syria, it will actually make the situation more difficult and complicated,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the ISNA news agency on Sunday.

"The installation of such systems in the region has negative effects and will intensify problems in the region,” warned Iranian parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Saturday evening, the IRNA state news agency reported. Larijani made the statement upon his return from a trip to Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, the news agency said.

Russia joined Iran in opposing the deployment of the NATO Patriot missile battery, as did Syria, which called the Turkish request “provocative.” Moscow, a heavy benefactor of Damascus, said the deployment could increase risks in the conflict. Russia has also been opposed to the placement of the NATO missile defense shield in Turkey and in Europe as well.

Meanwhile, more than a hundred thousand Syrian refugees have crossed the border into Turkey, including some of the rebels who are fighting the regime. Ankara has scrambled fighter jets in the past to deal with some of the gunfire, mortar fire and artillery shelling that has been directed, or has randomly landed in its territory.

Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel have also been subjected to various forms of weapons fire as a result of the Syrian conflict. As the fighting escalates further, the situation is rapidly deteriorating and it is no longer clear who is fighting who, or why.

Nearly a week ago, the fragmented opposition forces who had managed to united into a council to form a government-in-exile instead split in half, with 13 Muslim extremist groups forming their own secessionist movement. The Muslim group stated its distaste for the internationally-supported, “secular, foreign-controlled” Syrian National Council and instead declared an independent Islamic state in the northern commercial city of Aleppo.