Turkey has asked the U.S. to deploy two Patriot missile-defense batteries on its southern border to free it to punish any future attacks by Russian-backed Syrian troops, according to a senior Turkish official in Ankara.

“The U.S. has in the past sent air defense batteries to us,” Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told CNN-Turk television in an interview aired late Thursday. “In the same way, there may be a Patriot battery support,” from the U.S., Akar said during the interview recorded earlier Thursday. If there is similar support from European allies, Turkey would consider it, Akar said.

The disclosure was almost immediately followed on Thursday by a spasm of violence left two Turkish soldiers dead and five wounded in Idlib, underscoring the risks as two regional powerbrokers assert their influence in northwestern Syria.