NATO missile defense battery in Turkey operational
BRUSSELS (AP) -- NATO says the first of six Patriot missile defense batteries deployed to southern Turkey to intercept possible rocket fired from Syria has been declared operational.
The alliance's supreme commander Adm. James Stavridis said Saturday the deployment represented "a clear demonstration of the agility and flexibility of NATO forces and of our willingness to defend allies who face threats."
The United States, Germany and the Netherlands are providing two batteries each of the latest version of the U.S.-made Patriots, which is optimized for intercepting incoming rockets.
The first battery to become operational was a Dutch unit. It will help to protect the city of Adana, NATO said. The rest of the units are expected to become fully operational in the next few days.
Syria has not fired any of its surface-to-surface missiles at Turkey during its nearly two-year civil war. Its government has described the NATO deployment as a provocation.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)