Ankara, 23 Safar 1434/5 January 2013 ( – U.S. personnel and equipment began arriving at southern Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base on Friday to support NATO’s Patriot battery deployment, U.S. Embassy in Ankara said.

     About 400 U.S. personnel and equipment would continue to flow into Turkey over the next several days by U.S. military airlift, according to the statement.

      The deployment of six Patriot batteries, including two each from Germany and the Netherlands, is in response to Turkey’s request to NATO against possible missile threat from Syria. All six batteries will be under NATO’s command and scheduled to be operational by the end of January.

      “The forces will augment Turkey’s air defense capabilities and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the Alliance’s border,” the statement said.

      The duration of the deployment will be determined by the contributing nations in coordination with Turkey and NATO, the statement said.

      The 21-month protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has turned increasingly bloody, with heavy fighting often erupting along Syria’s border with Turkey.

       NATO approved Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot defense systems in the country. (T/R-020/R-006)

Miraj News Agency (MINA)

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