by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Jan 23, 2013
NATO Patriot missiles deployed in Turkey to protect against a spillover of the conflict in neighbouring Syria will be operational this weekend, a senior NATO officer said Wednesday.
"We expect to have an initial operating capability this weekend, that's what we're aiming at. This is when we will have the capability to defend some aspects of the population," said British Brigadier General Gary Deakin.
The first two Patriot missile batteries to operate have been supplied by The Netherlands and will deploy in the southern city of Adana, arriving on station at the weekend to plug in to the NATO command and communication network, he said.
Two German Patriot missile batteries will be positioned in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaras while a further two US batteries will stationed in Gaziantep, just 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the border.
Each contributing nation has also sent up to 350 troops.
"The full capability, we expect to deliver at the end of the month," the NATO officer said.
"We estimates that once it is in place at those locations, we will provide protection against missiles for up to 3.5 million Turkish people," he added.
Turkey requested help from its NATO allies after shells landed on its border areas from Syria in October, killing several villagers.
NATO approved deployment of the US-made missiles, effective against aircraft and short-range missiles, in December, saying the use of ballistic missiles by the Syrian regime posed a threat to Turkey.
But Syria's allies Iran and Russia oppose the deployment, fearing that it could spark regional conflict also drawing in NATO.
NATO insists the measure is purely defensive.
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|