Last updated: 21 June, 2013

US military presence in Jordan expands to 1,000 troops

The US military has expanded its presence in Jordan to 1,000 troops, officials said Friday, in a show of force amid the raging civil war in neighboring Syria.

“The total comes to about 1,000” troops, up from about 250 personnel that have been in place for months, a US defense official told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

Roughly 700 troops that had deployed to Jordan for a major joint exercise, which ended this week, will remain on the ground, the official said. Another unit was also in place performing some training, said the official, without providing details.

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 US 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.