(CNN) -- The German Cabinet has agreed to send Patriot missiles and up to 400 soldiers to Turkey to deter the Syrian civil war from spilling into the country.
The cabinet decision, made in a special session Thursday, follows a move by NATO foreign ministers two days earlier to approve Turkey's request for such missiles.
Errant Syrian artillery shells struck the Turkish border town of Akcakale and killed five Turkish civilians in October.
Turkey asked NATO to deploy Patriot missiles along its border to bolster its air defenses against Syrian threats.
In addition to Germany, the United States and Netherlands -- both of which have Patriot capabilities -- have signaled they would be willing to contribute missiles.
"Any deployment will be defensive only. It will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation," the NATO statement said.
The decision was made as news surfaced about fears of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government using chemical weapons.