U.S. forces in Jordan: Panetta confirms explicitly, Oman strongly denies

Posted on October 11, 2012

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Heba Press
Added: 10/11/2012 Time: 10:41

But Jordan denied Wednesday a U.S. special forces on its territory to help him deal with the repercussions of the Syrian crisis.

The news agency quoted the official Jordanian Petra quoted an official source at the General Command of the Armed Forces denied “what I said and reports by some media about the presence of U.S. troops in Jordan to help refugees Syrians or for the purposes of assisting the Jordanian Armed Forces to face any risks related to chemical weapons.”

The military source said that “the Jordanian armed forces are capable and has all potential to face any future threats of any kind.”

A U.S. official said senior defensive team led by special operations forces and comprises about 150 soldiers are mainly from the U.S. Army builds a command center in Amman it will work with the Jordanian forces in joint operations planning and intelligence sharing.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the team is in Jordan several months ago and he was there when he visited Panetta’s King Abdullah at the beginning of August. He added that the number of members of this team has gone up since then, but there are no plans to increase the number more than that.

Panetta said at a news conference in Brussels, “We are working with Jordan since the period … on a number of things that have evolved as a result of what happened in Syria.”

He added that these issues include the control of chemical weapons sites “to determine the best way to respond to any concerns in this area.”

Said another U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said the small group of planners is not involved in any covert operations and resides in the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training north of the capital Amman since early summer.

Although the United States did not intervene militarily in Syria has warned President Barack Obama, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that any attempt to publish or use biological or chemical weapons will be crossing “a red line” that could cause the U.S. move.

Panetta said late last month that Syria moved some chemical weapons stockpiles to secure better but stressed that key chemical weapons sites in the country is still intact and secure under government control.

But American military planners in Jordan does not focus solely on chemical weapons.

Panetta said “We are also working with them to develop their abilities regarding military operations in case of any emergency there.”

“And this reason that we have … a group of our troops there.”

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN late last month that about 294 thousand refugees fleeing the conflict raging in 18 months in Syria already crossed into Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey Join or waiting there. She added that up to 700 thousand Syrians have fled abroad by the end of this year.

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