Patriot anti-missile launchers in Turkey in 2
Patriot anti-missile launchers in Turkey in 2 AFP photo

Syria said on Friday that plans by Turkey to deploy Patriot missiles along its border were "a new act of provocation," AFP reported.

Iran and Russia warned the move would complicate the situation and could spark a regional conflagration, the report said.

Turkey turned to its NATO partners earlier this week to request the deployment of the surface-to-air Patriot missiles to protect its troubled border with Syria, which is engulfed in a war that has cost some 40,000 lives.

In its first reaction to the Turkish move, the Syrian foreign ministry accused Ankara of causing "tension and destruction."

The action is "a new act of provocation," state television quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.

"Syria holds (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan responsible for the militarization of the situation at the border between Syria and Turkey, and the increase of tension and destruction to the detriment of the Syrian and Turkish peoples," the unidentified official said.

The Syrian government has long accused Turkey of harboring, financing and arming rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that any deployment of Patriot missiles by Turkey on its border may create a temptation to use the weapons and spark a "very serious armed conflict" involving NATO.

"I understand that no one has any intention to see NATO get sucked into the Syrian crisis," Lavrov said, according to AFP. But "the more arms are being accumulated, the greater the risk that they will be used."

Iran's foreign ministry accused Turkey of aggravating the situation.

"Not only does it not help resolve the situation in Syria but it will also aggravate and complicate the situation," spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, quoted on state television.

"The insistence (of certain countries) to resolve the Syrian crisis through military means is the main cause of tensions and threats in the region," he said.

The tension between Syria and Turkey increased in October, when a Syrian mortar landed in Turkish territory, killing five civilians in Akcakale.

The Turkish army responded by attacking several targets in Syria. Turkey's parliament later gave the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.

Turkey subsequently intercepted a Syrian Airbus A320 flying from Moscow to Damascus and escorted it to the Esenboga Airport in Ankara.

Turkey later claimed it had seized "objectionable cargo" aboard the Syrian passenger plane. Syria, in turn, accused Turkey of lying.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)