The United States could supply Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) to Turkey due to the worsening situation of Ankara in the Syrian province of Idlib. This was stated by the Minister of National Defense of Turkey – Hulusi Akar.
Earlier, Turkey requested the U.S. to deploy two Patriot missile-defence batteries on its southern border to prevent any future attacks by Russian-backed Syrian troops according to Bloomberg.
The declaration was almost instantly followed on Thursday by a spate of violence that left two Turkish soldiers dead and five wounded in Idlib, emphasizing the risks as two adamant powers assert their influence in northwestern Syria.
The total number of Turkish soldiers killed in the Idlib area over the last three weeks has increased to 15 as pro-government forces, supported by Russian airpower, attempt to overwhelm the last major pocket of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
The official, according to Bloomberg, said Turkey could use F-16 fighter jets to strike units loyal to Assad in Idlib if the Patriots were deployed in Hatay on Turkey’s border to provide protection.
“There may be a Patriot battery support,” from the U.S., Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told CNN-Turk television in an interview on Thursday. If there is similar support from European allies, Turkey would consider it too, he said.
“Turkey is determined to use force to ensure a cease-fire in Idlib,” Akar said. “Russia should not intervene in Turkey’s actions in Idlib, Turkey has no intention to face off with Russia.”