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Turkey asks US for missile defense amid Syria standoff

Turkey has asked the United States to deploy Patriot batteries to its southern border, a US official told Al-Monitor.
Specialist Tevin Howe and Specialist Eduardo Martinez take part in training on a U.S. Army Patriot surface-to-air missile launcher at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, January 12, 2019. Picture taken January 12, 2019.  U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady/Handout via REUTERS.  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY - RC1CE04C3590

The United States has not made a decision over whether to deploy Patriot batteries to Turkey’s southern border after receiving a request from Ankara, a US official told Al-Monitor. The ask comes amid ongoing clashes in Syria’s opposition-held Idlib province as two Turkish troops were killed in a regime airstrike on Thursday.

Bloomberg first reported that Turkey had requested two missile batteries through US Special Representative for Syria Jim Jeffrey, who served as the US envoy to Ankara during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. It was not immediately made clear to Al-Monitor when the request came through, how it was conveyed, how many batteries Turkey asked for or whether Ankara asked to purchase or borrow the units.

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