Turkey's army has deployed anti-aircraft missile batteries all along the country's southern border
with Syria, Israel Radio quoted the Turkish media as saying Monday.
According to the radio, Turkish television also said that American-made
"Stinger" surface-to-air missiles were deployed in recent days
on raised ground in the Hatay Province, in southern Turkey.
Meanwhile, CNN reported that a July 19 to Congress by Joint Chiefs Chairman
Gen. Martin Dempsey listing U.S. assets in the Middle East includes Patriot
missile defense batteries in Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal critic of Syrian
President Bashar Assad, a former ally. Erdogan,
whose country has taken in more than 500,000 Syrian refugees fleeing more than
two years of civil strife in their own country, has blasted Assad for his
regime's military assaults on its own people.
US President Barack Obama has declared his intent to take military
action against the Assad regime for its apparent use of chemical weapons, most
recently in neighborhoods on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21.
Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry have been making a
persistent case for military action both domestically and internationally. Key
Assad ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, has insisted that there is not
sufficient proof of such attacks and has come out strongly against any American
strike on Syrian soil.
The Turkish announcement comes on the heels of the revelation Sunday
that Israel has deployed its own anti-missile defense system, Iron Dome, in the
Jerusalem area for the first time. Both Israel and Turkey fear that they would
be the target of retribution from Syria should Obama make good on his pledge to
take punitive measures again the Assad regime.
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