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DK ship loading patriots for Turkey

A Danish DFDS cargo vessel has begun loading German patriot surface-to-air missiles destined for Turkey as part of a NATO decision to help Ankara defend its skies from Syrian missile incursion.

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The 196-metre Suecia Seaways is currently in the German port of Travemünde where it is loading 300 vehicles and 130 containers with military materiel destined initially for Iskenderun in Turkey.

The missile batteries are expected to arrive in Turkey next week as part of a US-Dutch-German agreement to deploy two batteries each along the Turkish-Syrian border under NATO command. US forces and materiel have already begun arriving in Turkey.

US Europe Command EUCOM said in a statement that some 400 US troops in all will be deployed, with many of them already having flown in to the Incirlik Air Base.

“Turkey is an important NATO ally and we welcome the opportunity to support the Turkish government’s request in accordance with the NATO standing defense plan,” said Navy Vice Adm. Charles Martoglio, U.S. European Command deputy commander in a statement.

He added that full deployment will take several weeks, but once set up, the batteries will fall under NATO command.

NATO has made it clear that the missiles are being deployed solely to defend Turkish air space and will not support either a no-fly zone in Syria or any offensive operations.

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