After Friday’s announcement that the United States, Germany and the Netherlands will deploy a total of six Patriot missile batteries along Turkey’s increasingly dangerous border with Syria—which includes the deployment of 400 U.S. soldiers—Adm. James Stravridis, the Supreme Allied Commander – Europe posted an explainer on his blog.
The NATO alliance has “an absolute obligation to defend the borders of the Alliance from any threat emanating from that troubled state,” he wrote, adding that the Patriots will deploy in a purely defensive role to meet any potential missile threats from Syria.
“Given a number of recent cross border incidents with artillery and mortars landing in Turkey and killing Turkish civilians, we are concerned with possible SCUD missile activity inside Syria,” he said. “SCUDs, which are medium-range surface-to-surface missiles, are particularly worrisome because they can carry chemical payloads.”
Stravridis also said that he will “retain operational command responsibility” for the deployment of all six Patriot batteries.
While Staviridis didn’t give specific deployment dates, he wrote that the Patriot systems will begin moving toward Turkey “very soon,” and he hopes to have them in place “in the coming weeks after final national decisions are made and assets are allocated to NATO Command.”