Tuesday, Nov. 27, the Middle East military spotlight swung around from Gaza to the Syrian war with steps for the start of US and NATO intervention in that conflict. Without spelling this out, a game changer began unfolding when a joint Turkish-NATO team began making a site survey for the deployment of Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems, manned by American military teams. The team, said the statement from Ankara, will assess where to station the missiles and how many would be needed. It reiterated that the system is “for defensive purposes” and not for a “no-fly zone or offensive operations,” but just for use “against an air or missile threat from Syria.”
However, the Patriots in combination with already installed elements of the missile shield, will command an area beyond the Turkish-Syrian border – all of northern Syria up to and including the embattled towns of Aleppo and Homs, DEBKAfile’s military sources report.
Their presence will impede the operations of Assad’s most effective and lethal means of war against the rebels in that region – air force bombardment.
The positioning of US anti-missile missiles in Turkey coincides with the rebels’ success in destroying the Assad regime’s key air and radar stations in southern Syria and along the Jordanian border. The two thrusts add up to a coordinated military effort in northern and southern Syria to seize control of the skies in both regions from Assad’s control and push his forces back into central Syria.