- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2012

The U.S. is sending two Patriot missile batteries and 400 U.S. soldiers to Turkey as part of a NATO force to protect Turkey from a possible Syrian attack, defense officials said Friday.

The U.S. troops will operate the two batteries at undisclosed locations in Turkey, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters traveling to Turkey with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who signed the deployment order en route.

Germany and the Netherlands also are providing Patriot missile batteries and sending up to 400 German and 360 Dutch troops to man them, bringing to six the total number of Patriot batteries for Turkey, according to the Associated Press.

Syrian shells from Turkey have landed in Turkey since the beginning of Syria’s revolution in March 2011, after Syrian refugees and rebels fled into Turkey and operated from along its borders.

The U.S. announcement came a day after Russia, a longtime ally of Syria’s government, had said that President Bashar Assad’s regime appears to losing control of the country and that the rebels seeking his ouster could win.

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