U.S. expands military presence in Jordan to 1,000 troops

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The United States has increased the number of forces that will remain in Jordan after a joint military drill to 1,000, AFP reported, quoting a defense official.

“The total comes to about 1,000” troops, up from about 250 personnel that have been in place for months, the official told AFP.

Earlier, President Barack Obama said the United States has left about 700 combat-equipped troops in Jordan after a training exercise there, at the request of the Jordanian government, according to Reuters.

With both countries keeping a wary eye on the civil war in Syria, Obama said in a letter to Congress that 700 of the troops deployed to Jordan as part of a training exercise will remain behind.

The exercise ended on Thursday. They will remain until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer needed, Obama said.

“This detachment that participated in the exercise and remained in Jordan includes Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control, and communications personnel and systems,” Obama said

The Pentagon on Saturday announced that F-16 fighter jets and a Patriot missile battery would stay in Jordan after having been sent there for the Eager Lion military exercise.

The United States is concerned about a possible spillover of violence from Syria to its southern neighbor Jordan, a key U.S. ally and one of only two Arab states to have signed a peace treaty with Israel.

Jordan is struggling to cope with nearly a half million Syrian refugees, and its territory will likely serve as a conduit for weapons that Washington has said it will supply to the rebels battling against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

(With AFP and Reuters)