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NATO hails deployment of missile, troops on Turkey’s border

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.

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