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
- Putin casts off rich cronies as sanctions hit Russian elite
- Obama to cut short India trip to pay call on Saudi Arabia
- Terror explodes anew in Ukraine as rebels’ rockets hit city of Mariupol
- Leaders decry apparent murder
- Yemenis protest takeover by Houthi rebels
- Focus shifts as Ebola outbreak slows
- Islamic militant group Ansar al-Shariah says leader Mohammed al-Zahawi has been killed
- King Tut’s mask can be repaired, expert says
- British Ebola patient discharged from hospital after recovery
- Turmoil confronts new Saudi king on several crucial fronts
- Britain, Australia join effort to rescue Japanese hostages