The U.S. military will complete deployment of Patriot surface-to-missile batteries in Turkey on Saturday, Stars and Stripes reported today. Turkey had requested the air defense support to protect the country against any Syrian missile attack.
U.S. soldiers from Army’s Air Defense Artillery will operate the Patriot batteries that are being set up around the Turkish city of Gaziantep, less than 80 miles from the embattled city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Germany and the Netherlands are also sending Patriot batteries as well and will deploy to other parts of the Turkish-Syrian border. (Stars and Stripes, 9 January)
In all, NATO allies are sending six Patriot batteries and about 1,200 troops to Turkey. The air defense operation is dubbed “Active Fence.”
In December, Iran’s top uniformed officer, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, objected to the planned deployment of the Patriots on Turkish soil, warning that it could lead to “world war.”
Photo credit: Patriot missiles are loaded onto a C-5 Galaxy for deployment in Turkey at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Tuesday 8 January 2013. (U.S. Air Force/ Caitlin O’Neil-McKeown)