1. Escalating

    U.S. to Aid Turkey Against Syria

    Syrian refugees cross from Syria to Turkey by the Orontes river, near the village of Hacipasa, Turkey, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012.  Syrian rebel commanders have elected a new 30-member leadership council and a chief of staff, a senior rebel said Saturday in a major step toward unifying the opposition that is fighting to oust President Bashar Assad. The Supreme Military Council, which was chosen Friday during a meeting in Turkey, will work with the political leadership that was chosen last month in Qatar. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    Manu Brabo/AP

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered that two batteries of Patriot air-defense systems be deployed to Turkey as part of an effort to strengthen Turkey’s defenses against Syria. He also ordered the deployment of roughly 400 American troops to man them. Panetta said that the batteries will “help Turkey have the kind of missile defense it might very well need in dealing with threats that come out of Syria,” adding that the al-Assad regime had “moved to begin to arm weapons that would involve the use of chemical and biological materials.” Although the Netherlands and Germany will be sending similar deployments, NATO officials say the weapons are defensive and not part of a no-fly zone over Syria.

    Read it at The Wall Street Journal