U.S. to Send Patriot Missile Batteries to Turkey

Posted December 14th, 2012 at 3:30 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. is sending two Patriot missile batteries to Turkey as part of a broader effort to help the country defend itself against possible rocket strikes from Syria.

News organizations, on Friday, said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had signed orders to send the missiles and 400 military personnel to Turkey for an operation that is expected to include Patriot batteries from Germany and the Netherlands.

The batteries, which will be under NATO's control, are scheduled to be operational by late January.

Earlier this month, NATO authorized the deployment of a missile defense system to Turkey after Ankara expressed concerns about cross-border shelling and the Syrian government's possible use of chemical weapons against rebels.

Turkey first asked for help in October, after army shells from Syria landed on its side of the border, near rebel strongholds.

The Patriot is a ground-based defense system that fires missiles to intercept airborne threats.