Recently resigned Syrian rebel President Moaz al-Khatib, who appeared at an Arab League summit today, said he has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to start using the Patriot missiles deployed in southern Turkey for shooting down Syrian warplanes.
Khatib presented the Syrian civil war as “slaughter” from the government against the rebels, and complained about the lack of anti-aircraft weapons in their huge arsenal of arms smuggled in from abroad, which has allowed government forces to retain air superiority.
That’s not by accident, however, as Syrian rebels have openly called civilian aircraft “legitimate targets” and have tried to shoot them down already, which has led nations to be reluctant to ship more advanced weaponry into rebel hands that might create some diplomatically unfriendly massacres.
The deployment of Patriot missiles along the Turkish border was opposed by many explicitly because of concern that it would set the stage for those sort of intervention, though NATO officials maintain that they have no plans to start using those missiles for anything other than protecting Turkey from missiles.
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