Syria Opposition Chief Surprised By US Refusal Of Missile Cover

Syria’s opposition chief said on Wednesday he was “surprised” by a US decision to reject his demand for NATO to provide Patriot missile protection for rebel bastions in the country’s north.

“There is an international will that the revolution does not come out victorious,” Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, head of the National Coalition, said in Doha, Qatar.

“But the people that have defied injustice and tyranny will not stop,” said Khatib, who still acts as the head of the coalition despite announcing his resignation on Sunday.

He told an Arab League summit on Tuesday that he had asked US Secretary of State John Kerry to extend the umbrella provided by Patriot anti-missile batteries positioned in Turkey to protect rebel-held parts of north Syria.

Khatib said he was waiting for a NATO response, in an address to Arab leaders after the League gave the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad the seat of Syria at the 22-member organisation.

But the White House reacted swiftly saying that “at this time, NATO does not intend to intervene militarily in Syria”.

“I think that a Patriot missile battery would follow the definition of military assistance,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, adding that Patriot anti-missile batteries in Turkey were for self-defence only.