Germany Deploys Missiles To Turkey
Germany began deployment of Patriot missile defense batteries to Turkey on Tuesday, following similar commitments made by fellow NATO allies the Netherlands and the United States.
The two missile batteries are being reinforced by 350 German troops, reports RT.
The United States has pledged 400 troops and two missile batteries, and the Netherlands will provide another two missile batteries.
All six missile batteries are scheduled to be up and running by the end of January.
The measures are being taken to protect Turkey against any possible military spillover from the nearly two-year-long civil war going on in neighboring Syria. Turkey is home to approximately 100,000 Syrian refugees, mostly housed in makeshift camps along the Syria-Turkey border.
Tensions between the two countries rose last June, after Syria shot down a Turkish jet fighter that had gone missing while on patrol between the two nations. The downed fighter was one of two planes that had entered Syrian air space low and fast, showing hostile intent.
Sporadic shelling of those camps, and other instances of the Syrian civil war spilling across the border, have taken place since then. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen vowed last November to defend its charter member against further spillover.
The U.S. military also sent 150 planners to Jordan last October to deal with the 180,000 Syrians that have fled there to escape the bloody conflict, and the possibility of Syria’s chemical weapons cache could become compromised.
But Russia, Syria’s chief ally, has raised concerns that the missile batteries could be used to create a “no-fly zone” over Syria, and create a safe haven for Syrian rebels inside the country.
Syrian President Bashar Assad outlined a peace solution to the conflict in Syria on Sunday, starting with the withdrawal of international support for opposition agents he condemned as “terrorists linked with Al-Qaeda.”
Assad’s plan was rejected by the nascent opposition group the Syrian Coalition as “empty rhetoric” and said that his stepping down could be the only prerequisite to negotiations.