US Patriot missile equipment arrive in Turkey

Updated: 2013-01-05 09:17


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ANKARA - US personnel and equipment began arriving at southern Turkey's Incirlik Air Base on Friday to support NATO's Patriot battery deployment, US Embassy in Ankara said.

The US Embassy said in a statement that the US personnel and equipment are sent to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey's Adana province.

About 400 US personnel and equipment would continue to flow into Turkey over the next several days by US military airlift, according to the statement.

"The troops will man two Patriot batteries supporting NATO's mission there. Additional equipment will be sent by sea, arriving later this month," the statement said.

The deployment of six Patriot batteries, including two each from Germany and the Netherlands, is in response to Turkey's request to NATO against possible missile threat from Syria. All six batteries will be under NATO's command and scheduled to be operational by the end of January.

"The forces will augment Turkey's air defense capabilities and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the Alliance's border," the statement said.

The duration of the deployment will be determined by the contributing nations in coordination with Turkey and NATO, the statement said.

The 21-month protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has turned increasingly bloody, with heavy fighting often erupting along Syria's border with Turkey.

NATO approved Turkey's request to deploy Patriot defense systems in the country.