Germany, the Netherlands and the United States reportedly are weighing ending their deployment of Patriot interceptors in Turkey by the end of the year.
The Germany news magazine Der Spiegel on Sunday reported that the NATO allies have begun initial talks on potentially removing their respective Patriot antimissile batteries from Turkey's border with Syria, now that the threat of a possible chemical weapons attack by the Bashar Assad regime appears to have ended. On Monday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced that the last of Damascus' declared chemical warfare materials had been transferred out of the country.
Six Patriot batteries -- supplied collectively by Washington, Berlin and Amsterdam -- have been fielded along the Turkish border with Syria since early 2013. The short-range interceptors were deployed as a precaution against stray or intentional ballistic missiles fired during the Syrian civil war, which is still going on.
A decision on the timing of a possible removal of the Patriot systems is anticipated to be made at the NATO summit in September in Wales, the Turkish World Bulletin reported.
The Netherlands and Germany reportedly are interested in wrapping up the mission in a timely manner in light of the difficulty of maintaining the rotational troop deployments needed to operate their Patriot batteries.