(INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey) — The U.S. will send two Patriot missile batteries to Turkey to prevent rounds from Syria from crossing the border, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who signed the order to send the missiles while en route to Turkey on Friday, said the move will help in “dealing with threats that come out of Syria.”
Panetta made his remarks after landing at Incirlik Air Base, where he addressed approximately 300 men and women stationed there and thanked them for their service.
Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters on board the flight that about 400 U.S. soldiers will be deployed to Turkey to operate the two missiles.
“We expect them to be deployed in the coming weeks,” he said.
Little said “the purpose of this deployment is to signal very strongly that the United States, working closely with our NATO allies, is going to support the defense of Turkey,” which he said, “is a very strong ally of the United States.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Andreas Preuss and Joe Sutton, CNN
Ralph Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN