White House and NATO chief rule out using Patriot missiles to support Syrian rebels

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, March 18, 2013

From AFP:  The White House said Tuesday that NATO would not provide Patriot missile batteries to protect rebel strongholds in Syria, following a request from opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. . . .

"We are aware of the request," White House spoksman Jay Carney said.

"At this time, NATO does not intend to intervene militarily in Syria," Carney said. . . .

Carney added however that the White House was constantly reviewing its policies in Syria, which have seen Washington give hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid but stop short of providing "lethal" military help.

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO:  [W]e have no plans to change the purpose of, and coverage of the deployed Patriot missiles. We made clear right from the outside that this deployment of Patriot missiles is purely defensive. We have no offensive intentions. We are there to ensure effective defence and protection of the Turkish people and Turkey’s territory. We consider that a core task of NATO, to protect our Allies. And we stick to that declaration, which was issued when we decided to deploy the Patriot missiles.

Excerpt from joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Marin Raykov.  (photo: NATO)

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