An Iranian Army chief today said US military support to Turkey over the conflict in Syria threatens "world war," according to this report from Iran's semi-official IRNA news agency.
The statement from the Iranian Armed Forces chief of staff, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, comes a day after US officials said they will provide Turkey with 400 US troops and Patriot anti-ballistic missile batteries to stave off spillover from the Syrian conflict.
"We are friends with Turkey, and we want peace for Turkey, not a war from Syria's side," Firouzabadi said, warning that "each of these missiles are a dark point on the map of the world, and they are for starting a world war," according to ISNA.
The comments, also reported by Reuters, comes just days after Syria allegedly launched Scud missiles from Damascus at rebels in the north in a bid to stamp out a 20-month rebellion. Syria has denied using Scud rockets.
US officials nevertheless claimed one of the missiles came close to the Syrian border with Turkey, according to CNN.
The US offer includes two Patriot missile batteries able to strike planes and missiles coming from Syria.
Panetta was frank about the possible reaction from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime: "We can't spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off Syria," he told CNN.
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Germany and the Netherlands are also sending two Patriot batteries each to the Turkish border to help the NATO ally.
NATO approved the decision last week but the forces might not cover all the at-risk territory, reported The New York Times.
The batteries are expected to start work in January.