by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Dec 22, 2012
NATO said Saturday it would be deploying Patriot missiles in Turkey over the coming weeks to defend against any threats from neighbouring Syria.
"The deployment, which will take place over the next few weeks, will be defensive only," NATO said in a statement, after the military alliance agreed earlier this month to station the missiles on Turkish soil.
"It will not support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation. Its aim is to deter any threats to Turkey, to defend Turkey's population and territory and to de-escalate the crisis on NATO's southeastern border."
Germany, the Netherlands and the United States will be supplying ground-to-air missile batteries, which Turkey requested after a series of cross-border shellings from Syria, including an attack that killed five civilians.
NATO-member Turkey, a one-time Damascus ally, has turned into one of its most vocal opponents over the 21-month conflict in Syria that monitors say has killed more than 44,000 people.
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