BRUSSELS Turkey is expected to request on Monday that NATO missiles be placed on its border with Syria to defend against mortar rounds fired from its neighbour, Germany's defence minister said.
Only the United States, the Netherlands and Germany have the appropriate Patriot missile system available. Germany would analyse such a request "with solidarity", Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.
"I expect that there will be a request from the Turkish government today to NATO to deploy Patriot Missiles to the Turkish border," he told reporters in Brussels, on the sidelines of a meeting of EU defence ministers.
"If a partner now asks us for such a measure, it is clear for us that we will face this in an open way and with solidarity."
De Maiziere said the German response would depend on the details of any request. "But if we have a deployment of Patriots on the Turkish border then this will happen with German soldiers."
Turkey is talking to NATO allies about how to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) frontier with Syria after mortar rounds fired from Syria landed inside its territory, increasing concerns about spillover from the civil war.
The Dutch defence minister said the Netherlands too was waiting for a Turkish request. "We did not receive a formal request yet," Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told reporters in Brussels. "We are waiting for a formal request."
(Reporting by Angelika Stricker and Robert-Jan Bartunek. Writing by Sebastian Moffett; Editing by Janet Lawrence)