Germany to end air-defense mission in Turkey next year

AP , Saturday 15 Aug 2015

Germany's defense ministry says it will withdraw some 250 troops stationed in Turkey when the mandate for their air-defense mission ends next year.

The soldiers are operating Patriot missile batteries near the Syrian border as part of the NATO mission "Active Fence" along with troops from the United States and the Netherlands.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement Saturday that the mission won't be renewed when it ends Jan. 31, 2016, because the main threat in the region comes from the Islamic State group. The group doesn't possess missiles.

Von der Leyen says Germany is committed to helping stabilize the region and will continue to train and support Kurdish and Iraqi security forces in Erbil, Iraq.

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