Syria criticizes NATO move on Patriot missiles

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BEIRUT — Syria sharply criticized NATO’s move to deploy Patriot missiles along its border with Turkey, calling the decision “provocative,” as the West took a major step toward a possible military role in the civil war.

After getting Cabinet approval, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters that two German Patriot batteries with a total of 400 soldiers would be sent to the border area under NATO command for one year, although the deployment could be shortened.

Syria’s deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad insisted the deployment of the missile defense system would not affect the determination of President Bashar Assad’s government to crush the “terrorists,” using the regime’s term for rebels fighting to topple the longtime leader.

Mekdad denounced the NATO move as part of a conspiracy that is possibly laying out the foundations for a military intervention in Syria.

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