ANKARA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Patriot missile batteries from Germany arrived at a port in southern Turkey Monday as part of a NATO-authorized operation to help the country defend against cross- border airstrikes from neighboring Syria, private NTV news channel reported.
Germans started unloading missiles at Iskenderun port in Hatay province at 07:00 a.m. (0400 GMT), which then be carried to the southern province of Kahramanmaras overland, said the report.
The United States, Germany and the Netherlands are each deploying two Patriot batteries in Turkey's southeastern region under the Turkish request from NATO with the aim of boosting Turkey's air defense capabilities from any airborne attacks from Syria.
The Dutch ship carrying Patriot systems are waiting to unload the batteries on the offshore of southern Iskenderun gulf, according to the report.
All six batteries will be under NATO's command and scheduled to be operational by the end of January.
The Turkish government requested in last November that its national air defense be reinforced with the support of NATO air defense elements. In last June, Syria shot down a Turkish warplane in the Mediterranean Sea, killing two crew members.
In October, several artillery shells from Syria struck a Turkish border town and killed five civilians.
During the 1991 Gulf war and 2003 Iraq war, Turkey had twice asked NATO for the deployment of Patriot missiles.