Syria Scorecard: Turkey And NATO Talk Patriots, U.K. Could Send Troops "Within Months"

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Syrian Tanks, Oct. 13, 2012
Syrian tanks -- photographed from the Turkish village of Saribuk in Hatay province along the Turkish-Syrian border Saturday -- drive toward the town of Darkush in northern Syria, where heavy clashes are ongoing between government troops and rebel fighters.

Bolstering the already stepped-up military presence along the Tukrish-Syrian border, NATO announced on Monday that it is "in talks" with the Turkish government to obtain Patriot surface-to-air missiles.
 

"NATO as an organization will do what it takes to protect and defend Turkey, our ally," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to reporters on Monday, Reuters reported.

"We have all plans in place to make sure that we can protect and defend Turkey and hopefully that way also deter so that attacks on Turkey will not take place."
 

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a press briefing on Wednesday November 7 that Turkey had been discussing using Patriot missiles with the U.S. "for some time," Reuters said.
 

"As you know, in the past we have reinforced Turkey with Patriots. So we will await a formal request and then NATO will deliberate. But we're obviously looking at the full range of things to ensure that Turkey remains safe and secure," Nuland said.
 

Despite the quick escalation in tensions, Turkish President Abdullah Gul also told reporters on Thursday November 8 that Turkey "had no intentions" of engaging in an all-out war with Syria, and was merely looking to deter "any possible threats."
 

"When these type of potential dangers are out there, all the necessary precautions are taken," Gul said. "For defensive purposes ... these types of contingency plans, have for a long time been considered within NATO."
 

Turkey has already absorbed an estimated 110,000 Syrian refugees and several dozen Syrian rockets at the beginning of October across its southern border. The attacks from Syria, accidental or not, have killed a number of soldiers and civilians. On Monday as NATO made its announcement, Turkish outlet Today's Zaman reported Syrian warplanes were bombing within "meters" of Turkish territory in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain. One Turkish soldier and two civilians were wounded, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
 

The now 19-month old conflict is Syria has some in the West re-considering their non-interventionist policies. The U.K. on Monday announced they could be sending their own troops to Syria "within months," according to Chief of Defense Staff and head of the Armed Forces General Sir David Richards, the Daily Mail reported .
 

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday, Richards said, "The humanitarian situation is going to, I think, deteriorate, and that will... cause [us] to intervene in a limited way… There's ultimately no military reason why one shouldn't [intervene], and I know all these options are, quite rightly, being examined."
 

In a prepared release on Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said "What we've done over the last 18 months hasn't been enough. The slaughter continues, the bloodshed is appalling … So let's work together on really pushing what more we can do," Reuters reported.
 

"We haven't ruled anything in and we haven't ruled anything out," he continued. "This is the moment to get some impetus going forward. We want to put everything on the table."

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