American troops are headed to Turkey to defend against Syria

Leon Panetta, right, and Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone spoke about the plan Friday in Ankara. Leon Panetta, right, and Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone spoke about the plan Friday in Ankara. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The United States has agreed to send two Patriot missile batteries to defend Turkey's border against Syria missiles, and that also means 400 more American troops will be on the ground and closer than ever to the ongoing fight in Syria. Germany and the Netherlands will also contribute missile teams to the effort following NATO's approval of the plan last week. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta signed the order personally on Friday morning after arriving in Turkey on an unannounced visit to the US Air Force Base in Incirlik.

It will take several weeks before the soldiers can actually be deployed overseas, but the mere announcement of the show of force is meant to deter Syria from even considering an attack on southern Turkey, where hundreds of thousands of Syrian citizens have fled to refugee camps, and where many of the supplies being fed to the rebel armies originate. 

The presence of U.S. troops will be more than just symbolism, however. The deployment marks a major increase in the U.S. role in the conflict, placing Americans within striking distance of Syrian weapons—and within range of striking back. Should the Patriots actually be called upon in defense of Turkey, American forces would suddenly find themselves a direct participant in the civil war, making it easier for them escalate even further and possibly to become an attractive target should Bashar al-Assad decided to make one final desperate act against his enemies.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.