UPDATE 1-Iran warns Turkey not to deploy Patriot missiles

Reuters Middle East

(Adds quote from Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu)

DUBAI, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Iran said Turkey's plans to deploy

Patriot defensive missiles near its border with Syria would add

to the region's problems, as fears grow of the Syrian civil war

spilling across frontiers.

Turkey asked NATO for the Patriot system, designed to

intercept aircraft or missiles, last week after talks about how

to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) border.

"The installation of such systems in the region has negative

effects and will intensify problems in the region," Iranian

parliament speaker Ali Larijani said on returning from a trip to

Syria, Lebanon and Turkey on Saturday evening, according to

Iranian state news agency IRNA.

Ramin Mehmanparast, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, told

the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) on Sunday that

deploying the Patriot system "will not only not help solve the

situation in Syria, it will actually make the situation more

difficult and complicated as well".

Syria has called Turkey's request for the Patriot missiles

"provocative", and Russia said the move could increase risks in

the conflict.

Iran has steadfastly supported Syrian President Bashar

al-Assad throughout the 20-month-old uprising against his rule.

Turkey's missile request may have riled Damascus because it

could be seen as a first step toward implementing a no-fly zone

over Syrian airspace.

Syrian rebels have been requesting a no-fly zone to help

them hold territory against a government with overwhelming

firepower from the air, but most foreign governments are

reluctant to get sucked into the conflict.

Turkey fears security on its border may crumble as the

Syrian army fights harder against the rebels, some of whom have

enjoyed sanctuary in Turkey.

Heavy fighting has often erupted along Syria's border with

Turkey. Ankara has scrambled fighter jets and returned fire

after stray Syrian shells and mortar bombs landed in its


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday no

one should be concerned by the use of Patriots.

"These systems are solely defensive mechanisms, and will not

become active unless there is a direct threat to our country's

security," Davutoglu said, speaking to CNN Turk.

"The aim of this action is to protect Turkey's borders as

much as possible at a time of crisis. The Patriots will be sent

back when the risks to Turkey's security disappear."

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai, additional reporting by

Ece Toksabay in Istanbul; editing by Andrew Roche)

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