NATO Patriot anti-missile systems, deployed along Turkey's 900-kilometer border with crisis-torn Syria, reach initial operational capability.
The move follows the approval of the deployment by the German and Dutch governments at the beginning of December. Together with the US, the two countries are the only NATO member states that own Patriots systems.
The three countries started deploying the systems on January 21, each sending two missile batteries. The US and Germany will both sent up to 400 soldiers to set up the system, while the Netherlands will sent around 360 soldiers.
Turkey filed a request for NATO help to protect its territory and people on October 21, shortly after several Syrian mortar shells landed in its territory and killed five Turkish civilians.
According to NATO, the deployment of the Patriot missiles is solely for defensive purposes. The system will not support a no-fly zone nor an offensive military operation. The anti-missile system has previously been deployed in Turkey during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
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