U.S. troops begin Patriot missile duty in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey — American troops have started to arrive in Turkey to man Patriot missiles meant to protect the NATO ally from potential Syrian warheads, the U.S. military said Friday.
The United States, Germany and the Netherlands are each deploying two batteries of the U.S.-built defense system to boost Turkey's air defenses against any spillover from Syria's nearly 2-year civil war. The Patriot systems are expected to become operational later this month.
The Stuttgart, Germany-based U.S. European Command said in a statement that American personnel and equipment had started arriving at Turkey's southern Incirlik Air Base. Some 400 personnel and equipment from the military's Fort Sill, Oklahoma-based 3rd Battalion were to be airlifted to Turkey over the coming days, while additional equipment was expected to reach Turkey by sea later in January, the Command said.
NATO endorsed Turkey's request for the Patriots on Nov. 30 after several Syrian shells landed on Turkish territory.
Last month, NATO said the Syrian military has continued to fire Scud-type missiles, although none had hit Turkish territory, and said the alliance was justified in deploying the anti-missile systems in Turkey. Ankara is supporting the Syrian opposition and rebels and is providing shelter to Syrian refugees.
More than 1,000 American, German and Dutch troops are to be based in Turkey to operate the batteries.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- North Korean student escapes abduction bid in Paris
- 28 non-Muslims killed in attack on Kenyan bus by Somalia’s Islamic terrorists
- Russian diplomat Lavrov accuses West of seeking ‘regime changee_SSRq
- Islamic State drive for Kobani blunted
- Chinese state media give profs a chilling warning
- Israeli mayor suspends jobs of some Arabs, citing synagogue attack
- Interpol seeks environmental crime suspects
- Amid Ebola cases, Mali braces borders and beyond
- Kerry in overdrive to secure nuke pact
- Smasher yields 1st look at new particles
- Coal corruption scandal saps enthusiasm for eastern Ukraine rebels