NATO chief believes Syrian government near collapse

BRUSSELS Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:27pm IST

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addresses a news conference during a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addresses a news conference during a NATO foreign ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels December 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Related Topics

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The head of NATO said on Thursday he thought the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was nearing collapse, and condemned the use by Assad's forces of Scud missiles to attack rebels.

"I think the regime in Damascus is approaching collapse," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at NATO headquarters. "I think now it is only a question of time."

Rasmussen, confirming comments to Reuters on Wednesday by NATO and U.S. officials, said the alliance had detected the launch of a number of unguided, short-range Scud-type missiles inside Syria earlier this week.

"The use of such indiscriminate weapons shows utter disregard for the lives of the Syrian people. It is reckless and I strongly condemn it," he said.

Syria on Thursday denied that it had used Scud missiles in its fight against what it calls "terrorist groups", a Foreign Ministry statement posted on state news agency SANA said.

Rasmussen urged the Syrian government to "stop violence, to realise what is the actual situation and initiate a process that leads to the accommodation of the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people".

NATO agreed last week to send Patriot missiles to Turkey to protect it against the threat of missiles from Syria. Rutte, whose country is one of three planning to send Patriots to Turkey, said he expected the missiles to be operational by the end of January. (Reporting by Adrian Croft; Writing by Sebastian Moffett; Editing by Alison Williams)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Neclear Restart

Neclear Restart

Japan's Sendai nuclear restart in final stage: local governor.  Full Article 

Fight Unites

Fight Unites

Kurds' battle for Kobani unites a people divided by borders.  Full Article 

Railway Revamp

Railway Revamp

China to spend at least $33 bln on new railway lines.  Full Article 

Controversial Remark

Controversial Remark

Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves.  Full Article 

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle

Cook Speaks Up

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle.  Full Article 

Gas Deal

Gas Deal

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal.  Full Article 

Jerusalem Tensions

Jerusalem Tensions

Kerry urges restraint, expresses worry over tensions in Jerusalem.  Full Article 

Myanmar Roundtable

Myanmar Roundtable

Obama urges progress in Myanmar ahead of rare roundtable.  Full Article 

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

National Guard arrives in Hawaii town threatened by lava.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage