U.S. troops have started to arrive in Turkey to man Patriot missiles meant to protect the NATO ally from potential Syrian warheads, the U.S. military said Friday.
The United States, Germany and the Netherlands are each deploying two batteries of the U.S.-built defense system to boost ally Turkey's air defenses against any spillover from Syria's nearly 2-year civil war. The Patriot systems are expected to become operational later this month.
The Stuttgart, Germany-based U.S. European Command said in a statement that U.S. personnel and equipment had started arriving at Turkey's southern Incirlik Air Base. Some 400 personnel and equipment from the U.S. military's Fort Sill, Oklahoma-based 3rd Battalion were to be airlifted to Turkey over the coming days, while additional equipment was expected to reach Turkey by sea later in January, the Command said.