US to Send Missiles, 400 Troops to Turkey
NATO force to defend against Syrian missile threat
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 14, 2012 4:45 AM CST
Updated Dec 14, 2012 7:48 AM CST
Leon Panetta meets with troops at Kabul International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, before boarding his plane and heading back to Washington.   (Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – The Pentagon says it will send Patriot air defense missiles and 400 troops to Turkey as part of a NATO force meant to protect Turkish territory from potential Syrian missile attack. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed a deployment order today en route to Turkey from Afghanistan, a rep says. The order calls for 400 US soldiers to operate two batteries of Patriots at undisclosed locations in Turkey. Turkey is a founding member of NATO and requested that the alliance provide Patriots.

They will be sent by NATO members Germany and the Netherlands as well as the US for an undetermined period. During a brief stop at Incirlik Air Base, some 60 miles from the Syrian border, Panetta told US troops that Turkey might need the Patriots, which are capable of shooting down shorter-range ballistic missiles as well as aircraft. He said he approved the deployment "so that we can help Turkey have the kind of missile defense it may very well need to deal with the threats coming out of Syria," he said. Panetta did not mention how soon the two Patriot batteries will head to Turkey or how long they might stay.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
Dec 16, 2012 11:33 PM CST
Thank God. America must defend our NATO ally Turkey. It must also protect our U.S. ally, the state of Israel. Both Israel and Turkey border Syria. Syria is a danger to U.S. allies. The U.S. must invade Syria by land, sea and air. The world must assist the U.S.; The U.S., NATO, the E.U., Turkey, Israel, and the Arab League must invade Syria by land, sea and air. Syria is a danger to world peace. Let us unite to end the evil dictatorship of Bashar Assad. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Dec 14, 2012 6:57 PM CST
Do these boomer larvae on newser not have any knowledge of the world before they became aware ? There have been US missiles and US troops on US bases in Turkey since the 1950's.
Dec 14, 2012 4:45 PM CST
This is the first step in a disaster on it's way. Turkey can handle the Syrians. We do not need to be there on the ground. More positioning to threaten Iran is the real purpose.