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German troops to Turkey?

December 6, 2012

The German cabinet has decided to send up to 400 troops to Turkey's border with Syria as part of a NATO mission. The troops are to accompany Patriot missile systems requested by Turkey.

Turkish soldiers patrol in the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar near the strategic Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on November 14, 2012. NATO is ready to help member state Turkey as the 20-month conflict in Syria is increasingly spilling across the border, the alliance's chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this week. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Türkische Soldaten patroullieren an der syrischen GrenzeImage: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

The government confirmed in an early morning cabinet session what had emerged in media reports on Thursday.

Germany is one of three NATO nations, along with the US and the Netherlands, that have access to the Patriot missile defense systems Turkey has requested to help defend against spillover violence in neighboring Syria. The troops Germany is considering sending would be used to operate the Patriot missiles.

German cabinet approves Turkey Patriot mission. # patriot17d # 06.12.2012 13 Uhr # Journal Englisch

A vote in the German parliament on the new military engagement is expected next week.

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere has made it clear that Germany would only be participating in a mission that serves to protect Turkey, and not an offensive mission that might enforce a no-fly zone in Syria.

NATO gave its approval for the deployment of the Patriot surface-to-air missiles on Tuesday.

mz/mr (dpa, dapd)