ANKARA — Patriot air defense systems sent by Spain to Turkey as part of a NATO mission were deployed at a base in the Adana province, southern Turkey, officials said.

They said Five launchers were deployed at the base, each equipped with four missiles, the official said. The system primarily aims to protect Turkish soil from potential missile threats from neighboring Syria.

A Turkish military official said that the Spanish Patriots, stationed to counter ballistic missile threats, would be kept at the Turkish base for about a year. Some 150 Spanish soldiers also will be stationed in Turkey to operate the system.

Spain said last September that it would replace the Netherlands in the NATO mission designed to protect Turkey's southern border. Turkey has had Patriot missiles stationed in the southern provinces of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş and Adana since December 2012.

Six Patriot batteries were sent to Turkey by the US, the Netherlands and Germany as part of a NATO decision to boost Turkey's air defenses against a potential Syrian missile attack.

The alliance has deployed Patriot surface-to-air missiles to Turkey twice before, once in 1991 and later in 2003, during both gulf wars.


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