By Kasim Ileri
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Turkish government recently asked the U.S. to deploy Patriot air defense systems on Turkey’s southern border, a U.S. official said Thursday.
"We're aware of a request for Patriot systems but understand no decision has been made," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said the request had been made "recently."
Earlier in the day, citing a Turkish official in Ankara, Bloomberg reported that Turkey asked the U.S. to deploy two Patriot missile-defense batteries “to free it to punish any future attacks” by Syrian regime forces backed by Russia.
In the latest exchange between Turkish and Syrian regime forces Thursday, two Turkish soldiers were martyred and five injured in airstrikes on Turkish elements in Idlib, northwestern Syria, said Turkey’s National Defense Ministry.
In retaliation, Turkish forces neutralized more than 50 regime elements and destroyed five tanks, two armored personnel vehicles, two armed pickups and one howitzer, the ministry said on Twitter.
Responding to Turkish soldiers being martyred by Assad regime forces in recent weeks, Turkey has swiftly retaliated, neutralizing hundreds of Syrian troops and warning that it will not tolerate any Turkish soldiers coming to harm.
*Servet Gunerigok contributed to this story