Netherlands To Deploy Patriot Missiles, Troops To Syrian Border
Xinhua News Agency
December 7, 2012
Netherlands to send Patriot missiles to Turkey
THE HAGUE: The Dutch government decided to send Patriot air defense missiles to Turkey to protect the NATO member against possible air attacks from neighboring Syria, Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans said on Friday after a meeting of Dutch Ministers.
Last month Turkey issued a request to NATO countries for the deployment of Patriot missile systems. The Netherlands will send two batteries of Patriots, accompanied by maximum of 360 Dutch soldiers.
It will take several weeks before the Patriots will be installed at the Turkish-Syrian border. The exact start of the operation, which will last for one year, is unknown yet.
The Patriot system (Phased Array Tracking to Intercept On Target) has been in use by several NATO countries since the eighties. Earlier on Thursday Germany decided to provide Turkey with Patriots.
It is the third time that the Netherlands sends its Patriot systems to Turkey. In 1991 and 2003 the Dutch Patriots were used to protect Turkey against possible attacks by the Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Russian Information Agency Novosti
December 8, 2012
Netherlands to Send 2 Patriot Batteries to Turkey
MOSCOW: The Dutch government has approved the delivery of two Patriot missile batteries to Turkey to boost its air defenses along the border with Syria, the Dutch news agency ANP reported.
“The Dutch deployment of Patriot systems aims to protect the population and territory of NATO ally Turkey and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the southeastern borders of the alliance,” ANP quoted a government statement on Friday.
The Dutch Cabinet said it would commit a maximum of 360 troops to operate the Patriot systems under a year-long NATO mandate.
The Dutch decision comes a day after the German government agreed to send two Patriot batteries and up to 400 troops to Turkey.
NATO approved the deployment of Patriot air defense systems in Turkey…
The missile systems are expected to be placed within a triangular area including the provinces of Gaziantep, Malatya and Diyarbakır in southern and eastern Turkey. The deployment could take a few weeks, according to NATO officials.
Tensions between Turkey and Syria flared dangerously this summer, after Damascus shot down a Turkish fighter that had violated its airspace. Turkey threatened retaliation if there was any repeat of the incident, although it admitted its plane had mistakenly strayed slightly into Syrian airspace.
Russia has repeatedly voiced concern about plans to deploy Patriot missiles on Turkey’s border with Syria, although Moscow avoided directly criticizing Turkey.
Russia believes the deployment would mean the first step toward the direct involvement of NATO forces in the Syrian conflict, further undermining the already unstable situation in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday reassured Turkey that Syria is too busy dealing with its internal conflict to plan any attack on its neighbors.