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German military trucks carrying NATO's Patriot Missile Defense System to protect Turkey. / Burhan Ozbilici, AP

BRUSSELS (AP) - NATO says its Patriot anti-missile defenses along Syria's border with Turkey will become operational this week.

British Brig. Gen. Gary Deakin said Patriot batteries sent by the United States, Germany and the Netherlands have reached Turkey and are currently being deployed in the south of the country.

"We expect to have an initial operating capability this weekend," Deakin said.

Alliance member Turkey asked NATO in November to urgently deploy the U.S.-made missiles to bolster its defenses to prevent a spillover of Syria's civil war. Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.

Although Syria is reported to have used tactical surface-to-surface rockets against rebel forces on several occasions in the nearly two-year civil war, none has landed inside Turkey.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read the original story: NATO to activate Turkey missile defenses

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