The United States plans to deploy Patriot missile batteries and about 400 troops to Turkey following the announcement of a similar move by Germany.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has signed orders to authorize the plan, the New York Times
reported on Friday.
Washington will provide two out of six Patriot missile batteries, while Germany and the Netherlands will each contribute two.
According to a US Defense Department official, it will take three weeks to ship and station the two batteries in Turkey.
On December 4, the NATO military alliance approved Ankara’s request for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles along its border with Syria.
All the six Patriot batteries, which will be under NATO’s command and control, are scheduled to be operational near the Turkey-Syria border by the end of January 2013.
On December 6, the German cabinet approved the deployment of missiles and 400 troops to the border region.
The German foreign and defense ministries said in a joint statement, “The deployment of Patriot air defense systems in close cooperation with the Netherlands and the US underlines Germany’s reliability as an ally.”
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on November 22 that Berlin would meet the Turkish demand, saying NATO should as well approve Turkey’s request as a NATO member.
The Syrian government has censured the Turkish request, calling it another act of provocation by the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Many people, including large numbers of Syrian security forces, have been killed over the past months of unrest in Syria that began in March 2011.
Damascus says certain Western states, especially the United States, and their regional allies including Turkey are trying to fuel the turmoil.
On November 28, the New York Times
reported that the US administration “is considering deeper intervention to help push [Syrian] President Bashar al-Assad from power.”