Jordan's prime minister says the country is hosting 900 US military personnel to bolster its defense capabilities against potential threats from the Syrian civil war.
The first Jordanian public official to speak publicly of the numbers of US troops in the kingdom, Abdullah Ensour told reporters Saturday that 200 of the personnel were experts training for how to handle a chemical attack.
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King: Jordan ready to fight any threat from Syrian conflict
He said the remaining 700 are manning a Patriot missile defense system and F-16 fighter jets which Washington deployed this month in case the Syrian war worsens.
Jordan is concerned its larger northern neighbor would use chemical weapons against Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and other neighboring countries, or that the stockpile may fall into the hands of al-Qaeda or other militants if President Bashar Assad loses control.
According to a statement made by United States President Barack Obama, per the Jordanian government's request, US decided to leave troops in Jordan after the military exercise which took place earlier this week in the Hashemite Kingdom. The troops are to remain in Jordanian territory until the security situation will allow their departure.
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