Kahramanmaraş to host Patriots
DAMASCUS / WASHINGTON
Activists from Germany’s Left Party hold placards reading ‘no’ during a protest in Berlin against Patriots. AFP photoGermany will deploy its Patriot air defense missiles in Turkey’s southern province of Kahramanmaraş, a German official said a day before the German Parliament is set to vote on permitting the deployment of the system as part of a NATO mission.
State Minister Michael Link said in a statement yesterday that the Patriot missiles would probably be deployed near Kahramanmaraş city. “Therefore, like the letter predicted, the Patriot missiles would not affect Syrian air space,” Link said.
Last week, NATO decided to deploy U.S., German and Dutch batteries of Patriot air defense missiles along the Turkish-Syrian border, saying its main worry was the prospect of Syrian missiles being fired across the frontier. Germany announced that it would send two Patriot batteries with a total of 400 troops to Turkey. The deployment of Patriot systems will likely take place in early 2013, as technical work to determine the number of batteries and sites continues.
Scuds fired: US
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Dec. 12 that Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) would also be sent to Turkey along with Patriots. Meanwhile, a U.S. official said on Dec. 12 that the Syrian regime has fired Scud missiles at rebel forces trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad. “Scuds landed within Syria,” the official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said “we’re seeing missiles employed now,” but refused to divulge intelligence as to what type of missiles she was referring to. However, the U.S.
official later said he could confirm a New York Times story that the regime was unleashing Scuds.
Citing anonymous U.S. administration officials, the New York Times said the al-Assad regime had fired around six Scud missiles from the Damascus area against rebels in northern Syria in recent days.
“As the regime becomes more and more desperate, we see it resorting to increased lethality and more vicious weapons moving forward and we have in recent days seen missiles deployed,” Nuland said.
Syria denied yesterday that it had used Scud missiles in its fight against “terrorist groups,” a Foreign Ministry statement posted on state news agency SANA said. “The Foreign Ministry confirms that these [Scud] missiles were not used in confronting the terrorists groups,” it said, according to Reuters
There was no word of any casualties caused by the Soviet-era weapons, famously fired into Israel by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War. The unguided, short-range ballistic Scud missiles, depending on the type employed, have a range of 200 kilometers or more.