Syria has called the deployment of the Patriot batteries “provocative” while Iran and Russia, which have supported Syria throughout the uprising, have criticised NATO’s decision, saying the Patriot deployment would intensify the conflict.
Turkey and NATO have strongly denied the Patriot missiles are a precursor to a no-fly zone that Syrian rebels have been requesting to help them hold territory against a government with overwhelming firepower from the air.
The Patriot missile batteries and their operators have been arriving in Turkey over recent weeks by sea and air.
Each Patriot battery has between four and six missile launchers and each launcher has up to 16 missiles.
All six Patriot batteries will be connected directly to allied air command in Ramstein, Germany.
The Ramstein command and control centre receives intelligence about missile firings in Syria and will alert the Patriot batteries to any missile launch. The Patriot batteries will then watch the arcs of the missiles and react if they threaten a Turkish city.