U.S. Patriot Missiles In Turkey, Headed For Deployment

Category: Politics / Jan 31, 2013 11:37AM EDT
A U.S. convoy carrying Patriot launcher systems and other units of surface-to-air missiles left Iskenderun port on Thursday (January 31) and headed to a military base in the southeastern province of Gaziantep where the systems will be deployed to bolster Turkey's air defenses against any possible missile attack from Syria. The frontier has become a flashpoint in the 22-month insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad, with Syrian government shells frequently landing inside Turkish territory, drawing a response in kind from Ankara's military. The Netherlands, Germany and the United States have each sent two Patriot missile batteries and up to 400 troops to Turkey after Ankara asked for NATO's help to defend its borders against a possible attack from Syria. The first pair of batteries, sent by the Netherlands, went operational on Saturday (January 26) around the city of Adana. The two German batteries, which have been deployed around the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras some 60 miles (100km) from the Syrian border, were in position late Monday (January 29). The final U.S. Patriots are expected to go active in the southern province of Gaziantep in coming days.