NATO said Saturday that The first of six Patriot missile batteries intended to protect Turkey from Syrian threats is operational along the countries’ shared border.
The other five batteries, which NATO says are to be for defensive purposes only, are expected to be in place in coming days.
NATO foreign ministers decided in December to deploy the batteries after Syria launched Scud missiles near the Turkish border. In October, errant Syrian artillery shells hit the Turkish border town of Akcakale.
The operational missile battery is in the city of Adana. Patriot systems will also be deployed to help protect the Turkish cities of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, NATO said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said this month that the missile batteries will stay only as long as there is a threat.
Their arrival came on yet another day of bloodshed in Syria, where the United Nations said recently that more than 60,000 have been killed since the conflict began nearly two years ago.
At least 129 people were killed across the country Saturday, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists.