After apparent attempts by Syria to attack Turkey with Scud missiles, Leon Panetta, U.S. Secretary of Defense, has signed an order to send two Patriot missile batteries and 400 soldiers to operate them for defense purposes.
Patriot missiles are anti-ballistic missiles designed to knock ballistic missiles out of the sky before they can reach their targets.
Syria denies any missile attack on neighboring Turkey, but with evidence to the contrary, Panetta signed the orderly immediately with the approval of the President.
Panetta was asked what action would be taken if Syria launched a chemical weapons attack. He replied that there was a plan in place, but it is extremely difficult to defend against that type of weapon.
Germany and the Netherlands have also offered to send batteries of Patriot missiles to assist in the NATO operation.