ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The deployment of a Patriot air defense system along the Turkey-Syria border means NATO is involved in the Syrian conflict, Russia's NATO envoy said Friday.
Alexander Grushko expressed Russia's concerns about the plan during a meeting with the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels, RIA Novosti reported.
Russia is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
"This involvement can become [or] might accelerate ... an incident or provocation," Grushko said. "Previously, the alliance officials have repeatedly said that Syria is not Libya, and NATO doesn't have a role in the Syrian conflict," he said, referring to last year's multi-state military intervention in Libya.
Turkey, a NATO member, requested the deployment of Patriot missiles inside its borders, saying the defense system was necessary to protect its border with war-torn Syria.
NATO officials said the missiles systems won't be used to set up a no-fly zone or to conduct offensive operations. Russia has been critical of the plan, saying it could further escalate the conflict.
NATO officials began surveying sites along the Turkey-Syria border this week.