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Last Updated: Thu, 31.01.13 17:15

Patriot defense systems from U.S. arrive in Turkey

A ship carrying Patriot air defense systems from the United States arrived at the Iskenderun Bay in southern Turkey on Wednesday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

U.S. flagged ship "Alliance Charleston" began its journey from the Port of Baltimore and reached the Iskenderun Bay in Hatay province on Wednesday, according to the report.

Patriot's system parts have already been carried from the Netherlands and Germany to Turkey's Iskenderun Port and they went operational in Turkish southern provinces of Adana and Kahramanmaras in the past days.

The Turkish government requested last November that its national air defense be reinforced with the support of NATO air defense elements so as to prevent possible attacks from neighboring Syria.

In June 2012, Syria shot down a Turkish warplane in the Mediterranean Sea, killing two crew members; and in October 2012, several artillery shells from Syria struck a Turkish border town and killed five civilians.

NATO has deployed Patriot missiles in Turkey during the 1991 Gulf war and the 2003 Iraq war.

Ankara (Xinhua)