Saturday Jun 22, 201311:23 PM GMT
US now has 900 troops in Jordan, PM says
Special operations forces from Jordan and the US conduct a combined demonstration at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) in Amman, Jordan, June 20, 2013.
Special operations forces from Jordan and the US conduct a combined demonstration at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) in Amman, Jordan, June 20, 2013.
Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:22PM
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Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour says the United States now has about 900 troops in the country.


On Friday, the United States said it had left about 700 troops in Jordan after the completion of a multinational military exercise.

On June 9, the Eager Lion 2013 military exercise began in Jordan’s desert areas, bordering Syria. About 8,000 troops from 19 countries participated in the maneuvers, which ended on June 20.

Addressing a press conference in Amman on Saturday, the Jordanian prime minister disclosed the numbers of US troops that arrived in the country in recent weeks for military exercises and other deployments.

Ensour said 200 US servicepersons are experts training people to deal with a chemical attack, and 700 troops are manning Patriot missiles and F-16 fighter jets.

"The number of US forces in Jordan is small and not intended to be in preparation for a war on Syria," Ensour added.

Earlier this month, Washington installed two Patriot missile batteries in Jordan and also deployed a squadron of 12 to 24 F-16 fighter jets. Each Patriot battery has an average of 12 missile launchers.

In a letter to US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Friday, US President Barack Obama said that the deployment was made at the request of the Jordanian government.

Obama stated that about 700 of the US troops deployed to Jordan as part of Eager Lion 2013 would stay in the country.

The troops will stay until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer required, Obama added, but provided no further details.

"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," he said.

On June 4, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich issued a statement, saying, “We have more than once stated our opinion on this -- foreign weapons are being pumped into an explosive region.”

“This is happening very close to Syria, where for more than two years the flames are burning of a devastating conflict,” the statement added.

The Syria crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey -- are supporting the militants.

GJH/HGL
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