UPI in English  |   UPI Arabic  |   UPI en Español  |   UPIU

U.S. troops in Turkey on defense mission

Published By United Press International
ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. troops arrived in Turkey as part of a coalition that will operate Patriot missile defense batteries near the Syrian border, officials said.

The troops arrived in the southeastern province of Gaziantep Thursday and planned to survey the site where the system was to be installed Friday, Today's Zaman reported.

The Syrian government had launched Scud missiles at its cities near the Turkish border, prompting Turkey to ask NATO for the missile batteries to defend itself against a possible attack by its neighbor, engaged in a civil war since March 2011. The United States, Germany and the Netherlands deployed Patriot air-defense missiles to the border region to intercept any Syrian ballistic missiles.

The missiles and troops will be under NATO control but the missiles will be operated by U.S. forces, CNN reported.

"We've made very clear to them that were going to protect countries in this region," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last month. "We have to act to do what we have to do to make sure that we defend ourselves and make sure that Turkey can defend itself."
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

Photo Gallery
1 of 1
Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa