BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO is making its strongest statement of support yet for alliance member Turkey, after a week of artillery and mortar exchanges with Syria.
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (AHN'-derz fohg RAHS'-moo-sihn) says NATO has "all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey," though he adds that the alliance hopes it won't need to use them.
Ankara has sent additional fighter jets to reinforce an air base close to the frontier with Syria where shells killed five Turkish civilians last week. The incident and the Turkish retaliation that's followed has sparked concern that Syria civil war to mushroom into a wider regional crisis.
But the expression of solidarity is largely symbolic right now. NATO officials say plans for Turkey's defense have been around for decades and were not drawn up in response to the Syria crisis. And observers say there appears little appetite in Turkey for a war with Syria.