NATO to send missiles to Turkey

NATO has given the go-ahead to deploy Patriot missiles to Turkey's border with Syria, an official has told news agency Reuters.

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MoD drawing up contingency plans for Syria escalation

The Foreign Secretary William Hague told MPs the Ministry of Defence has been preparing contingency plans to deal with the "heightened" understanding of the threat of chemical weapons being used by Assad's regime in Syria. Mr Hague said:

Our understanding of this threat has been heightened in recent days, we have seen some of the same evidence as the United States.

We have expressed in no uncertain terms directly to the Syrian regime the gravity of any use of chemical weapons. In our view, as the Prime Minister has said before, this would require us to revisit our approach on Syria.

I can't discuss contingency plans in any detail but we are always, in the UK, including in the Ministry of Defence, ready with a wide range of contingency plans.

NATO: Border missiles for 'defence only'

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he expected NATO to decide whether to place defence missiles on Syria's border with Turkey later today. He stressed the missiles would be for defence purposes only, not for any imposition of a "no fly zone."


NATO: We stand in full solidarity with Turkey

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen addresses a news conference in Brussels in November Credit: Reuters

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO was prepared to stand "in full solidarity with Turkey." Speaking at a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Brussels he said:

" As you know the situation on NATO's south-eastern border is of great concern. Turkey has asked for Alliance support. And we stand in full solidarity with Turkey."

"I would expect NATO Allies to make a decision later today. I am confident we will demonstrate our determination to deter against any threats and defend our Ally. Because this is what our Alliance is all about."

NATO head: Chemical weapons would bring instant reaction

When asked about Syria, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he would expect an "immediate reaction" from the international community to any use of chemical weapons.

The possible use of chemical weapons would be completely unacceptable for the whole international community. If anybody resorts to these terrible weapons, then I would expect an immediate reaction from the international community.

NATO decision on Syria border missiles 'expected later'

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the NATO decision on whether to put missiles on the border with Turkey, would be made later today. The United States Mission to NATO's official twitter account said:

Turkey requested defences to combat 'chemical threat'

Turkey made its request for Patriot missiles to combat the potential threat of both ballistic and chemical missiles from Syria, according to an unnamed NATO diplomat.

The United States yesterday issued a stern warning following reports that Syria's chemical weapons had been moved and could be prepared for use in response to dramatic gains by rebels fighting to topple President Assad.

Syria later denied it would use chemical weapons against its own people.

Yet the NATO diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Turkey was fearful of a potential chemical threat, saying:

Turkey's request, when it came to Patriots, was to augment its air defences with the capacity to deal with the threat of ballistic missiles and particularly the threat of ballistic missiles potentially armed with chemical warheads.


NATO expected to approve Turkey missile deployment

Turkey has requested more support for its border defences amid the escalating Syrian violence. Credit: Amr Dalsh / Reuters

NATO is expected to approve a deployment of Patriot missiles to Turkey to bolster its air defences against Syria.

The request from Turkey to the 28-nation alliance was made after weeks of talks with allies about how to beef up security on its 560-mile border with Syria, which is mired in civil war.

NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels today for a twice-yearly meeting are expected to support the delivery of the Patriots, which can be used to intercept missiles and planes.

Obama warns Syria of 'consequences' over chemical weapons

US President barack Obama has warned Syria's President Assad not to use chemical weapons or 'there will be consequences'.

US President Barack Obama has warned Syria over the use of chemical weapons. Credit: Press Assocation

"The world is watching," Obama said in remarks to a gathering of nuclear proliferation experts.

"The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable," Obama said.

EU reduces staff in Syria

The European Union's Diplomatic Service is to reduce their staffing levels at their office in Damascus due to the deteriorating security situation. This is the first time that the service has reduced their activities in Syria since the start of the conflict.

United Nations: there are more attacks on aid convoys

The United Nations has confirmed that is to withdraw all "non-essential international staff" as a result of the deteriorating security situation.

The organisation said that 25 of 100 foreign staff could leave this week because humanitarian aid convoys were becoming caught in the crossfire between the Syrian government and rebel forces.

Two members of staff needed hospital treatment after being caught in the fighting near the main airport in Damascus.

The UN said that eight of their staff have been killed since the conflict began, in addition to 18 volunteers with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

The security situation has become extremely difficult, including in Damascus. For as long as international humanitarian law is not fully observed by all parties to this conflict and for as long as the safety of humanitarian workers is not strictly secured, UN agencies have to review the size of their presence in the country as well as the way they deliver humanitarian aid.

– Radhouane Nouicer, the regional humanitarian coordinator in Syria
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