From Adrian Croft, Reuters: Several Scud missiles fired at rebels by Syria have landed "fairly close" to the Turkish border, NATO’s top military commander said on Friday in a blog explaining why Patriot anti-missile batteries are being deployed to Turkey.
The comments by U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, were the first to confirm that Scuds have come down near the border of Turkey, a NATO member state.
Stavridis also described the situation in Syria as "chaotic and dangerous".
U.S. and NATO officials said on Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had fired Scud-style ballistic missiles at rebels in recent days in what U.S. officials described as an escalation of the 20-month civil war.
"Over the past few days, a handful of Scud missiles were launched inside Syria, directed by the regime against opposition targets. Several landed fairly close to the Turkish border, which is very worrisome," Stavridis wrote. . . .
"Given a number of recent cross-border incidents with artillery and mortars landing in Turkey and killing Turkish civilians, we are concerned with possible Scud missile activity inside Syria. Scuds … are particularly worrisome because they can carry chemical payloads," he said.
Turkey has scrambled jets along its frontier with Syria and responded in kind when shells from Syria landed inside its borders. If any Scuds strayed over the border into Turkish territory, it could carry the risk of spreading the conflict. . . .
NATO agreed last week to Turkey’s request to send Patriots to reinforce its air defenses against possible missile attack from Syria. The United States, Germany and the Netherlands are to send six Patriot batteries in all. (photo: armyrecognition.com)