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    U.S. soldiers stand beside a U.S. Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, in this October 10, 2014 file photo

    US Pulling Patriot Missiles Stationed in Turkey

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    The United States has started moving its Patriot missiles from Turkey, US media reported on Sunday.

    "We do not think this is the best time to withdraw these batteries," said one senior Turkish diplomat. "This is a delicate time for our border with Syria," Defense News global newsweekly quoted an unnamed senior Turkish diplomat as saying.

    On October 7, the Turkish military said that Syria-based missile systems harassed Turkish warplanes while eight F-16 jets were on patrol along the Syria border. Turkey also said an unidentified MiG-29 harassed its jets October 6.

    US Patriot missiles were deployed at the Gaziantep 5th Armored Brigade Command in southeastern Turkey after the country appealed to its NATO allies to guard against any missile threat from Syria.

    In August, Germany said it would end its contribution to the anti-missile mission in Turkey. It was followed by a US announcement that said Washington informed Ankara that it would not renew the Patriot mission due to end in October.

    Earlier, the Netherlands said it would pull its Patriot systems from Turkey.

    The US withdrawal of the Patriot systems started when the batteries were brought to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, Defense News wrote.

    The pullout was initiated despite an appeal by Turkey to its NATO allies.

    The US move also coincided with NATO statements that the alliance was prepared to send ground forces to defend its member state.

    Related:

    Patriot Missiles Are 'Powerless' for Defending Turkey
    US to Return Patriot Missiles to Turkey Within 1 Week if Needed - Pentagon
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    NATO, missile threat, removal, diplomat, Patriot missile system, Turkey, United States
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