Yesterday NATO approved the deployment of Patriot anti-missile batteries along the border of Turkey. The decision came after concerns and fears Syria would use chemical weapons against bordering Turkey.
Intelligence gathered by NATO suggested Damascus was thinking of using ballistic missiles armed with chemical warheads.
NATO’s General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen said ministers have “unanimously expressed grave concerns” about the use of such chemical weapons. Although Syria promised never to use chemical weapons against its own people, President Obama still warned President Assad Syria would face grave consequences if he did used chemical weapons.
The CIA found Syria held chemical weapons at numerous sites around the country including mustard gas and sarin, a highly toxic nerve agent. It is also believed the government has been, over the years, attempting to develop even more toxic and persistent nerve agents such as VX gas.
Syria is said to have stockpiled roughly about 1000 tones of chemical weapons stored in more than 50 towns and cities. Also alarmingly, the Syrian government has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention act and is therefore without the borders of what is legal and illegal.
This brings about a number of questions. First of all, will the deployment of these Patriot missiles serve as an effective deterrent? Would it deescalate the situation along Syria and the Turkish border? Will Syria react or will it crawl into its shell?
More importantly, what effect will this have on dialogue between the two nations – can aggression be tackled with aggression? The Syrians and the Turks share a lot in common, including religion, various geographical and historical links and indeed a lot of Syrians even speak the Turkish language. How have they grown to become so apart?
There are essentially two outcomes – the predictable one which says that Syria will back down and will have to think twice before attacking, or the unpredictable one, where Syria comes up with some sort of a retaliation plan. The future remains to be heard.