US soldiers work on a Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in February. The US will keep two missile batteries in Turkey for another year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday. (Bulent Kilic / Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. will continue to provide two Patriot missile batteries in Turkey for another year as part of that country’s air defenses while the civil war rages on in Syria.
Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog says Hagel met with Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, on Monday and said the missiles will remain. They are under NATO command and Turkey requested they stay another year. They also discussed the effort to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has a plan to destroy Syria’s estimated 1,300-ton arsenal, which includes mustard gas and sarin, outside Syria, but has yet to find a country willing to host the risky operation.
The operation began with inspections more than a month ago.