Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said on Saturday that the deployment of U.S.-manufactured Patriot missiles in Turkey may lead to another world war.
The statement came on the heels of U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's recent approval for the deployment of two Patriot batteries in Turkey near its border with Syria, together with 400 U.S. soldiers who will operate the anti-missile system.
"Each of the Patriot missiles constitutes a black mark on the global map. They are planning a world war and that is very dangerous for the future of mankind and Europe in particular," Firouzabadi said.
Turkey requested the deployment of U.S. Patriot batteries due to its fear that the current embattled regime in Syria under President Bashar al-Assad will use non-conventional weapons against rebels who have taken up positions along the Turkish-Syrian border.
Meanwhile, another intense weekend of fighting in Syria between troops loyal to the regime and opposition forces was reported. According to opposition leaders and human rights groups, more than 120 people, mostly Syrian citizens, were killed in pitched battles over the weekend.
Battles raged near the international airport on the outskirts of Damascus as the Syrian air force bombed the northern section of a highway that leads into the airport, which is reportedly under the control of the rebels.
Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera reported that a large number of Syrian troops were sent to the area in anticipation of a rebel attempt to capture the airport.
A spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army said on Saturday, "The airport has become a legitimate military target."
Syria's official news agency claimed that several people were injured when a huge bomb exploded at the National Security Bureau building in Damascus on Saturday. It was unclear whether the injured included senior Syrian officials.