A US official has confirmed last Friday that Turkey has requested that the US deploys the Patriot air defence system in the country in the face of Syrian regime airstrikes.
Turkish Armed Forces have come under direct fire from Syrian regime airstrikes as combat between the two escalated, with Syrian Government Forces advancing on areas where Turkish forces have been deployed since the US wound down its operations in the region.
On Thursday, Turkish officials said that two Turkish soldiers were killed in airstrikes in Idlib, Northern Syria. In total, 15 Turkish personnel have been killed in February in combat with Syrian government-backed forces.
A US official confirmed that a request for the deployment of Patriot had been made, but that the US had yet to decide whether to deploy the system.
The official said: “We are aware of a request for Patriot missiles in Turkey near the Syrian border, but no decision has been made. We continue to have discussions with the government of Turkey about the troubling situation in Idlib. We refer you to the Turkish government for further details.”
The US made repeated interventions on Turkey’s road to acquiring the S-400, removed from the F-35 programme and the possibility of economic and military sanctions pending approval by the Senate.
Recently, Russian forces have been supporting the Syrian regime forces with airstrikes; however, it remains unclear whether Russian support had been aimed at Turkish forces or other Syrian rebel groups in the area.
Turkey is at odd with Russia over supplies of S-400 technology to Turkey. Russia and Turkish relationship is at the lowest point when Russia refused to transfer technology of S-400 to Turkey. Turkey disappointed about the poor performance of S-400 system against aircraft, drones and cruise missiles flying at low altitude. Turkey recently disclosed flaws with Nebo-M early warning radar and Grave-Stone Fire Control Radar of S-400. Turkey paid $2.5 billion to procure S-400 system from Russian Rostec.
At the time Aybet said that Turkey had a ‘pragmatic’ relationship with Russia, but Turkish intervention in Syria and confrontation with Russia has changed everything, Aybet signalled that Turkey is changing its stance on S-400.
“Leaving aside the fact that various versions of Patriot were offered to Turkey, just not full technology transfer– which is fair enough the S-400 system is incompatible with a national air and missile defence requirement because it cannot be connected to NATO systems.”
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