The U.S. could send Patriot long-range air-defense system to Turkey to use for security in the face of the conflict in Syria’s Idlib, Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, said on February 20.
In an interview with CNN Turk, Akar revealed that talks with U.S. on a possible purchase of Patriot systems are still ongoing.
“There is the threat of air strikes, missiles against our country … There could be Patriot support,” the Daily Sabah quoted the defense minister as saying.
Akar’s statement came a few hours after the death of two Turkish service members in an alleged Syrian airstrike that targeted their position in southern Idlib.
According to the Turkish defense minister, Turkey is now in talks with Russia over the possible use of the airspace over Syria’s Idlib. Akar stressed that his country is not seeking a confrontation with Russian forces in Syria, warning that Turkey’s S-400 system will be activated if needed.
The Turkish military is now attempting to push the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) back in Idlib. Earlier today, a Turkish-led attack targeted army positions in southern Idlib. However, the attack was quickly repelled with support from Russian forces.
Akar’s remarks indicate that Turkey is still determined to escalate the situation in Idlib. While Ankara apparently believe that this could be done without a confrontation with Russia, the Russian support for the SAA says the opposite.