Feb. 5 - The U.S. military says the first of two missile batteries it has deployed along Turkey's border with Syria is now operational. Lindsey Parietti reports.
U.S. Patriot missiles deployed in Turkey. The first of two missile batteries the U.S. sent to help protect Turkey from the ongoing conflict in Syria went fully operational Tuesday. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. 10th ARMY AIR AND MISSILE DEFENCE COMMAND COMMANDER COLONEL STEVE RICHMOND SAYING: "The Turkish government is completing preps to ensure that it will perfom properly and we expect it to be done by the end of this month" The US, Germany and the Netherlands each committed to sending two batteries and up to 400 soldiers to operate them around three border cities. All six missile batteries will be connected to central command in Germany. Syrian government shells frequently land inside Turkish territory, prompting fears that the war between rebel fighters and President Bashar al-Assad's forces could throw the region into conflict. Turkey and NATO have strongly denied the Patriot missiles are a precursor to a no-fly zone that Syrian rebels have been requesting to protect against Assad's air forces.