Spain and Italy are now holding down the fort and managing the air defence systems along Turkey's border with Syria.

The SAMP/T missile system
The SAMP/T missile system

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday welcomed Italy's deployment of its air defence system in Turkey.

The system arrived in the southern Turkish province of Kahramanmaras last week as part of a NATO mission to defend Turkey's southern border with Syria.

Stoltenberg said Turkey's security is important for NATO.

And by being a key ally, the block had already taken on several measures to improve Turkey's security.

"We have different kinds of assurance measures in Turkey," Stoltenberg said during a press briefing before NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"AWACS surveillance planes, we have Spanish Patriot batteries and have more naval presence in eastern Mediterranean. And the Italian deployment of SAMP/T will add and augment these efforts and this is something I welcome very much. It shows the NATO solidarity."

The move came after the United States and Germany pulled back their Patriot Air and Missile Defence Systems late last year and early this year.

NATO's first deployment of the Patriot System took place in early 2013 after Turkey officially asked the block for help to protect its borders from the civil war in Syria.

Germany, the US and the Netherlands were the first countries to reply to Turkey's call and sent manpower to manage the systems.

The Dutch and Germany ended its missions in 2015 and the US in 2016.

Spain and Italy are now holding down the fort and managing the systems.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies