Pentagon to send missiles, 400 troops to Turkey

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INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey — The U.S. will send two batteries of Patriot missiles and 400 troops to Turkey as part of a NATO force meant to protect Turkish territory from potential Syrian missile attack, the Pentagon said today.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed a deployment order en route to Turkey from Afghanistan calling for 400 U.S. soldiers to operate two batteries of Patriots at undisclosed locations in Turkey, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters flying with Panetta.

Germany and the Netherlands have already agreed to provide two batteries of the U.S.-built defense systems and send up to 400 German and 360 Dutch troops to man them, bringing the total number of Patriot batteries slated for Turkey to six.

A number of Syrian shells have landed in Turkish territory since the conflict in the Arab state began in March 2011.

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