Germany's Cabinet has agreed to send Patriot air defense missiles and troops to Turkey to help protect the NATO member from possible Syrian attacks.
The agreement Thursday must now be approved by the German Parliament, which is expected to endorse the measure. The Netherlands and the U.S. also are expected to help with deploying the Patriot missiles in the next few weeks.
NATO decided to send the Patriot missile-defense system to Turkey earlier this week.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday the decision sends a “clear message” to Syrian leaders that Turkey has the alliance's full support. She called for President Bashar al-Assad to reach a political settlement with Syria's newly reorganized opposition and warned that the use of chemical weapons by Syria is unacceptable.
“Our concerns are that an increasingly desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons, or might lose control of them to one of the many groups that are now operating within Syria. And so, as part of the absolute unity that we all have on this issue, we have sent an unmistakable message that this would cross a red line and those responsible would be held to account.”
Turkey requested the help from NATO after Syrian missiles landed on its side of the border in October.
Russia has said NATO is exaggerating the threat from Syria and that the October incident was accidental.
NATO officials stress the Patriot system is purely defensive and does not signal any intention to intervene in the Syria conflict.