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Turkey Asks NATO to Keep Missile Defenses Near Syrian Border

A NATO official said Turkey has asked the organization to approve a one-year extension of its Patriot missile-defense deployment to help defend its border with Syria, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.

“The North Atlantic Council has regularly assessed the situation and the implementation of the Patriot mission. It is clear that the overall risks and threats to Turkey remain serious,” the unnamed NATO official said.

Turkey asked for an initial deployment last year, after five people near the border were killed by a Syrian bomb. NATO, at the time, said that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of ballistic missiles endangers Turkey.

Germany, the Netherlands and the United States -- which sent the initial six missile batteries -- will consider the new request. A Turkish official told Reuters that it is likely to be approved.

Turkey was previously considered an ally to Assad, but the countries’ diplomatic relationship has eroded since the start of the civil war, with at least 600,000 Syrian refugees crossing into Turkey. 

The request follows Turkey’s announcement earlier this month that it would prosecute a French national accused of smuggling possible chemical-weapon ingredients into Syria.

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Turkey

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