WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Pentagon spokesman says the U.S. is pulling its Patriot air defense force out of Turkey mainly because it sees a declining Syrian military threat.
The spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said Monday that the Syrian regime has grown weaker and has used up most of its Scud missiles capable of striking Turkey.
The Patriot anti-missile system is capable of defending against ballistic missiles as well as aircraft. The U.S. and Turkey announced on Sunday that the Patriot mission in Turkey will end in October.
The Turkish government requested that its NATO allies deploy Patriots in 2012 in light of what the Turks considered a threat from Syrian missiles, including Scuds. The U.S. sent Patriots to Turkey in early 2013. They are located outside the city of Gaziantep.