ANKARA, Turkey — On the morning of March 25, a Russian-made Syrian scud missile estimated to have been fired from a range of 180 kilometers exploded near the Reyhanli district in Turkey’s southernmost city of Hatay, neighboring Syria.
The projectile left a 15-meter-wide crater in a stream bed, broke the windows of the surrounding houses, caused the roof of a building in the nearby military unit to collapse, damaged two military vehicles and inflicted minor injuries on five Turkish civilians.
The Syrian scud luckily did not cause any casualties on Turkish soil but left behind pressing questions: Why did the NATO Patriot systems stationed in southern Turkey not intercept the Syrian missile? How vulnerable is Turkey to tactical missile threats from its unstable neighbors to the south?
The Turkish military headquarters said that Turkish howitzers immediately retaliated and shelled unspecified Syrian targets. Military officials told Defense News the Syrian missile was probably fired from a Russian naval base in Tartus to target anti-regime rebels who have been fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces since 2011.
Germany, the Netherlands and the United States currently provide two Patriot batteries each, located in the provinces of Kahramanmaraş, Adana and Gaziantep.
Read More:Syrian Scud Unveils Turk Vulnerabilities.