THE HAGUE — The Dutch cabinet on Dec. 7 gave the go-ahead to sending NATO Patriot missiles to Turkey to defend its border against Syria, national news agency ANP quoted Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans as saying.
The Dutch will “shortly” send two Patriot units with a maximum of 360 troops to operate them following a request from fellow NATO member Turkey, ANP said.
The exact location for the missiles’ deployment will be decided in talks with Turkey, the United States and Germany.
NATO on Dec. 4 approved Turkey’s request for Patriot missiles to defend its border against Syria following a series of blunt warnings to Damascus not to use chemical weapons.
The German government announced Dec. 5 that it had approved its participation, saying it would also send up to 400 troops. The move still needs to be approved by the German parliament.
NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance’s decision reflected a “steadfast commitment” to preserving the security of its 28 member states.
The alliance said that the Netherlands, along with Germany and the United States, has agreed to provide the Patriot missile batteries, which would come under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
Turkey is a vocal opponent of the regime in Syria, where monitoring groups say more than 41,000 people have been killed in almost 21 months of conflict.