NATO puts missile deployment plan into place on Syrian border

NATO moved forward on Thursday with a plan to put Patriot missiles along Turkey's border with Syria as fears increased that Bashar al-Assad would use chemical weapons as an act of desperation.

NATO said that the missiles are meant to protect Turkey against potential attacks. Assad's regime labeled the plan psychological warfare and said the deployment would not stop it from trying to win over the rebels it views as terrorists, Associated Press reports.

The deployment of the missiles may show al-Assad that consequences would follow if he uses chemical weapons or attacks NATO member Turkey. The small scope of the deployment demonstrates the lack of desire by Western countries to use direct military intervention to end the civil war.

NATO agreed to post the missiles and troops along Turkey's southern border with Syria after shells and mortars from the warring country killed five Turks.

"Nobody knows what such a regime is capable of and that is why we are acting protectively here," Guido Westerwelle, Germany's foreign minister, said, according to Associated Press.

Assad's regime asserted that if it had chemical weapons it would not use them against its own people.

"I repeat for the hundredth time that even if such weapons exist in Syria, they will not be used against the Syrian people," Faisal Mekdad, Syria's deputy foreign minister, said, according to Al-Manar TV. "We cannot possibly commit suicide."