NATO said it will consider a request by Turkey to deploy Patriot missiles to defend against any attacks from neighboring Syria.

Security along the 560-mile border between Turkey and Syria is of grave concern to Ankara, given recent mortar attacks that have killed a number of Turkish civilians. Turks are also fearful that the civil war raging in Syria could spill across the border.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he will approve Turkey's request. Germany, along with fellow NATO members the United States and the Netherlands are the only nations that have the advanced Patriot system.

"Such a deployment would augment Turkey's air defense capabilities to defend the population and territory of Turkey," said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

"It would contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO's southeastern border."

Rasmussen cautioned however that any deployment of Patriot missiles would be strictly for defense purposes, not to enable the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria -- something Syrian rebel groups have asked for.