Turkey's army has deployed anti-aircraft missile batteries all along the country's southern borderwith 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 dayson raised ground in the Hatay Province, in southern Turkey. Meanwhile, CNN reported that a July 19 to Congress by Joint Chiefs ChairmanGen. Martin Dempsey listing U.S. assets in the Middle East includes Patriotmissile defense batteries in Turkey. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vocal critic of SyrianPresident Bashar Assad, a former ally. Erdogan,whose country has taken in more than 500,000 Syrian refugees fleeing more thantwo years of civil strife in their own country, has blasted Assad for hisregime's military assaults on its own people.
US President Barack Obama has declared his intent to take militaryaction against the Assad regime for its apparent use of chemical weapons, mostrecently in neighborhoods on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21.
Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry have been making apersistent case for military action both domestically and internationally. KeyAssad ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, has insisted that there is notsufficient proof of such attacks and has come out strongly against any Americanstrike on Syrian soil.
The Turkish announcement comes on the heels of the revelation Sundaythat Israel has deployed its own anti-missile defense system, Iron Dome, in theJerusalem area for the first time. Both Israel and Turkey fear that they wouldbe the target of retribution from Syria should Obama make good on his pledge totake punitive measures again the Assad regime.