UNDATED (CBS) -- The Pentagon says it will send hundreds of U.S. soldiers to Turkey to help protect the country from a Syrian missile attack. The U.S. is deploying troops to the Syrian border as the conflict rages.
Four-hundred American soldiers will be sent into neighboring Turkey within weeks. U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says, "So that we can help Turkey have the kind of missile defense that they very well need in dealing with threats that come out of Syria."
A number of Syrian shells have landed in Turkish territory since the uprising against Syria's president began in March of last year. Turkey has condemned Bashar Assad's regime and is providing shelter to tens of thousands refugees.
The U.S. built Patriot defense system can intercept weapons and shoot down aircraft. NATO officials say it will only be used if Syria attacks Turkey with missiles or even chemical weapons.
Germany and the Netherlands are also sending troops and missiles. The U.S. Defense Secretary says he's confident the Assad regime will fall. Panetta says, "It's going to take place, it's a matter of time."
Syria's allies Russia and Iran are criticizing the deployment of troops and missiles to the region saying it will only make the crisis worse.
Russia is also now backtracking a day after saying Syria's president was losing control of the country. Russia now says its deputy foreign minister was misquoted.