(NEW YORK) — NATO’s deployment of Patriot missile batteries in some areas of Turkey’s border with Syria has not just disturbed Damascus but also its close allies, Russia and Iran.
Last year, NATO members approved the batteries as purely defensive measures in case the two-year conflict between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebel fighters spills over into Turkey.
However, Moscow and Tehran see the deployment of missiles and about 400 troops from the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands as a provocative move that could make the Syrian civil war even more explosive.
In fact, Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned on Saturday that any incursion into Syria would also be considered an attack on Iran.
The border shared by Turkey and Syria has been volatile, with Syrians fleeing to refugee camps and supplies moving from Turkey into Syria to assist the rebel cause.
While occasional mortar shells have strayed into Turkey, no Syrian missiles have entered into its airspace as of yet.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Holly Yan, Chuck Johnston and David Williams, CNN
Joshua Berlinger and Holly Yan, CNN Newswire