U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday signaled the Obama administration's willingness to back the fielding of Patriot air-defense missiles in Turkey as protection against possible strikes by Syria, the Trend News Agency reported.
The Turkish government has "asked that we work with them to try to see what we can do to give them some missile defense capability," Panetta said in an interview with Voice of America. "And we are working with them. And our hope is that we can help provide that kind of assistance."
Recent reports have indicated that Ankara would formally request NATO deployment of Patriot batteries along the nation's border with war-wracked Syria.
Turkey has already fired back when its territory has been hit by Syrian mortars and bullets.