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NATO’s joint maritime group is flexing its muscle in the eastern Mediterranean Sea by conducting anti-terrorism drills as tensions between NATO member Turkey and its neighbor Syria escalate.
The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is determined “to give a clear message to terrorists in the region that NATO is on duty,” German Rear Admiral Thorsten Kahler told the Turkish daily Hurriyet.
“What we have to make sure is to tell the terrorists to be careful; we are here and providing security for NATO member states,” he said.
The admiral said the group will be heading from Istanbul further into the Mediterranean on July 7. The force currently consists of three frigates from Turkey, Germany and France. The ships are armed with 76-mm and 27-mm guns, Mark 46 anti-submarine torpedoes, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles and carry helicopters. They are manned by 545 sailors in total.