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According to the AP, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has issued an order to send 400 U.S. troops and two Patriot missile air defense batteries into Turkey. The move comes as part of a NATO effort to protect Turkish territory from potential attacks by Syria. Turkey has objected to Syrian President Assad’s leadership and views his administration as a dictatorship.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said, “The purpose of this deployment is to signal very strongly that the United States, working closely with our NATO allies, is going to support the defense of Turkey,”
NATO foreign ministers endorsed Turkey’s request for the Patriots missiles on Nov. 30. Germany and the Netherlands are said to have already agreed to send two batteries of the U.S.-built defense systems along with up to 400 German and 360 Dutch troops to man them. Combined with the forces the U.S. is sending it will bring the total number of NATO provided Patriot batteries to be sent to Turkey to six.
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