'Turkey deploys anti-aircraft missiles on Syrian border'

Move comes as Obama pushes for military intervention over Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.

September 9, 2013 11:58
1 minute read.
A Syrian boy sits beside his family's belongings after entering Turkey from Syria, Sept. 6, 2013.

Syrian child refugee in Turkey 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

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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