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Syria opposition asks US for Patriot missile protection

missile2DOHA: Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib said on Tuesday he has asked the United States to extend NATO's Patriot missile system to protect rebel-held areas in the north of the war-torn country.

"I have asked (US Secretary of State) Mr John Kerry during our meeting to provide Patriot (missile protection) that encompasses northern Syria, and he has promised to look into the matter," said Khatib at an Arab summit in Doha, Qatar.

"We are still awaiting a decision from NATO on this matter."

NATO's sole involvement in Syria's brutal civil war to date has been to position Patriot missile batteries along the Turkish border in order to prevent any air or missile launches from the Syrian side.

"The United States has a bigger role" which it could play beyond offering humanitarian aid worth "$350 million," said Khatib.

Copyright Reuters, 2013