BRUSSELS:-NATO on Friday welcomed a US order to deploy two Patriot missile batteries and some 400 personnel near Turkey s border with Syria while insisting the move was purely defensive.
“We welcome the United States contribution of two Patriot missile batteries to augment Turkey s air defences,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued the order to deploy the Patriots before landing in Turkey.
“This is a strong commitment to Alliance solidarity and security,” Lungescu said.
“The deployment will be defensive only. It will not support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation,” she added.
“Its aim is to deter any threats to Turkey, to defend Turkey s population and territory and to de-escalate the crisis on NATO s southeastern border.”
NATO also welcomed the intention of Germany and The Netherlands to contribute two batteries each.
The deployment aims to bolster Turkey s air defences amid tension on the Turkish-Syrian border.