It is planned to station six systems. Germany, the Netherlands and the US will send two systems each. According to the US European command, US Patriot systems are already being installed in the south of Turkey.
Units of the Czech, Slovak and Polish armed forces are expected to take part in this NATO operation. They will mostly be used to provide communication and coordination of activities between the missile systems.
Turkey appealed to its NATO allies for aid in November last year, after five Turkish citizens were killed by random shells that came from Syrian territory. Patriot systems are capable of hitting targets within the range of 70 kilometres and at an altitude of 20 kilometres. Experts say that using these systems for intercepting artillery or mortar shells is the same as using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Consequently, experts believe that the aim is not so much to defend Turkey as to prepare for an imminent military operation in Syria. Military expert Viktor Baranets shares this opinion.
“NATO is casting a missile noose on Syria. What’s the point? To enclose the Syrian air force and missiles in a NATO ring and build an anti-missile wall. All this is a follow-up of the same intention to stifle Bashar al-Assad’s regime. If al-Assad fails to come to an agreement with the opposition NATO is ready with its plan of a military invasion. And the air defence system being deployed in Turkey will prevent al-Assad’s aircraft and missiles from resisting the forces that could invade Syria with a large degree of probability.”
The NATO missile systems are expected to stay in Turkey for at least two years and this term is planned without taking into consideration the development of the situation in Syria. Political analyst Stanislav Tarasov takes notice of this:
“Syria does not intend to attack any country, least of all Turkey. NATO troops are likely to be pulled in the region and Syria is not the main reason. It looks like a new repartition of the world is looming in the Middle East. Significant, serious positions are being assumed. This is an in-between move before a big game.”
At the same time the expert pointed out that building the Turkish springboard gives NATO an opportunity to exert a direct military and political influence on Iran, as well as on Iraqi Kurdistan bordering on Turkey whose relations with Iraq have deteriorated lately.