MADRID, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – Spain will station a squadron of Patriot surface-to-air (SAM) systems and send 130 servicemen to Turkey, Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes said while speaking to the members of the parliamentary defense committee.
According to Morenes, this measure is being carried out as part of NATO's operation "to protect civilians from possible attacks from the air and ballistic missile strikes on the southern border" of Turkey with Iraq and Syria. Missiles will be deployed in the region of Adana in southwest Turkey. Both the servicemen and the missiles will arrive to the country in January, the minister said Wednesday.
Spain previously stated that its military will not directly participate in the bombing of Islamic State (IS) rebel positions on the territories of Iraq and Syria. According to the minister, the country's contribution to the fight against the IS could be in form of transport assistance and providing bases, equipment and weapons for the government of Iraq.
The international coalition to combat IS is still being formed and, therefore, it is necessary to determine the "appropriate measures, responsibility and contribution" of each country, Morenes said. According to the minister, Spain is participating in the "operations planning process." The operations are developed by the US Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia and was engaged in the development of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On September 10, US President Barack Obama unveiled his plan for defeating the IS, a strategy that includes launching US airstrikes against the group in Syria and continuing its airstrikes in Iraq.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq and seized vast areas in both countries, proclaiming an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.