By Yusuf Hatip
BRUSSELS (AA) - NATO will continue to monitor and assess ballistic missile threat to Turkey from Syria, according to the declaration issued after the first day of NATO Summit in Brussels.
"We remain concerned that Turkey has been hit three times in the last four years by missiles launched from Syria. We continue to monitor and assess the ballistic missile threat from Syria," the declaration said.
Pointing to Syria's inventory of short-range ballistic missiles, the declaration said the range of these missiles "covers part of NATO’s territory and some of our partners’ territories."
It also drew attention that the Syrian regime had used these missiles extensively against its own population.
"The increasing threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles in the vicinity of the south-east border of the Alliance has been and remains a driver in NATO’s development and deployment of a ballistic missile defense system, which is configured to counter threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area," it added.
The two-day NATO summit started with the attendance of 29 NATO heads of state and government to make important decisions on the future of the alliance.
NATO also vowed to provide Turkey with “tailored assurance measures” aimed at guaranteeing alliance’s security
"Tailored assurance measures for Turkey to respond to the growing security challenges from the south contribute to the security of the Alliance as a whole, and will be fully implemented," the declaration said.
"We have increased the strength of the NATO Response Force, and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is ready to deploy on short notice," it added.
Since 2014, NATO has implemented Assurance Measures (AM) which comprise a series of land, sea and air activities in, on and around the eastern part of Alliance territory.
In late 2015, NATO allies agreed on a package of Tailored Assurance Measures for Turkey (TAMT) to respond to the increasing security challenges on Turkish borders.
These measures include additional AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) surveillance aircraft presence in the region; increased maritime activities in the Eastern Mediterranean; and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance activities and information sharing.