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Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:41 AM

nato to decide on missiles for turkey


BRUSSELS (AP) -- NATO foreign ministers are expected to approve Turkey's request for Patriot anti-missile systems to bolster its defense against possible strikes from neighboring Syria, officials said Tuesday.

Ankara, which has been highly supportive of the Syrian opposition to President Bashar Assad's regime, wants the Patriots to defend against possible retaliatory attacks by Syrian missiles carrying chemical warheads. Syria is reported to have an array of artillery rockets, as well as short- and medium-range missiles in its arsenal - some capable of carrying chemical warheads.

NATO leaders have repeatedly said they would provide any assistance Turkey needs.

The ministers are meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels. Germany and the Netherlands are expected to provide several batteries of the latest PAC-3 version of the U.S.-built Patriots air defense systems which is optimized to intercept incoming missiles.

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