The U.S. is in talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over a request from Ankara for deployment of the Patriot missile system on its southern border, said President Donald Trump Saturday.
"We are speaking to President Erdogan a lot. We are talking to him about" the request, Trump told reporters at White House.
Earlier in the day, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara needs Patriots and the U.S. could send the defense system to Turkey.
Currently, Patriots from Spain are deployed in southern Adana province.
In recent weeks, the Syrian regime forces stepped up their attacks on Turkish troops in Idlib province. The attacks this month have left more than 50 soldiers martyred and dozens others wounded.
Turkey's request for Patriots broke out first in a Bloomberg report, which said Turkey asked the U.S. to deploy two Patriot missile-defense batteries “to free it to punish any future attacks” by the Syrian regime forces backed by Russia.
Late Thursday, at least 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred and tens of others injured in an airstrike by Bashar al-Assad regime forces in Idlib, a de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, just across Turkey’s southern border.
The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a September 2018 deal with Russia, which prohibits acts of aggression in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
But more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by Assad and Russian forces in the zone since then, as the cease-fire continues to be violated.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.