Patriot missiles and troops are being sent by the United States and Germany to the Turkish border in an effort to warn Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, according to CNN. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the missiles would be “dealing with threats that come out of Syria.”
The Turkish border town of Akcakale was hit with artillery shells that seemed to be errant, killing five Turkish civilians back in October.
“We can’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off Syria,” said Panetta. There are two Patriot missile batteries and 400 troops being deployed by the United States solely for defensive purposes.
CNN reported that the United States and NATO want the missiles in place by the second week of January. A military advance team will be headed to the location within the next couple of days. These moves come just one week after foreign ministers from NATO approved deployment of Patriot missiles to protect Turkey.
On Friday NATO said that the Netherlands have shown a willingness to send Patriot missiles as well. Both NATO and Turkey have said that the Patriot Missile System is only going to be used in cases of defense and not offensive strikes.
“It’s at its lowest point yet,” a senior U.S. official said about Syria’s President. “The trend is moving more rapidly than it has in the past.”
The civil war in Syria began in March of 2011 when a crackdown on civilian demonstrators by the government turned into a fight between the rebels and the government. To date, over 40,000 people have died in the civil war.