January 22, 2013
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere stands in front of a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery, February 15, 2012

From Today's ZamanGerman Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière has said that if there is any military threat from Syria to Turkey, NATO will respond to defend alliance member Turkey.

Were Syria to use its missiles against Turkey and engulf it into an armed conflict, NATO would not abstain from operating its Patriot anti-missile systems being deployed along the Turkish border with Syria, Maizière said while talking to the German Neue Osnabrück Zeitung daily.

Commenting on the recent developments in the region, Maizière said that the Patriot systems being deployed by alliance members following a Turkish request are “only for defense purposes,” and will not be used with the aim of bringing Syria into a new war.

“The deployment of the Patriots will mitigate the negative influence of the ongoing crisis in the country [Syria],” Maizière said, mentioning the disincentive aspect of these kind of deployments staged during the Cold War.  Maizière also said that as NATO is not sure of its ally's security in the region, “We were obliged to set up this safety shield.”

From Deutsche Welle:  "Should Syrian rockets be fired at Turkey then NATO will use the Patriot missiles," he [de Maizière] said, adding, however, that he did not expect the German Bundeswehr troops to be involved in combat.  (photo: Oliver Lang/AP)

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