Multinational military exercises launch in Jordan

AP News
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Posted: Jun 09, 2013 10:35 AM

ZARQA, Jordan (AP) — Jordanian and U.S. army officers have launched multinational military exercises involving border security and irregular warfare in this key U.S. Mideast ally.

The 12-day "Eager Lion" exercises bring together 8,000 personnel from 19 mainly Arab and European countries to bolster defense capabilities in the face of a possible flare-up from neighboring Syria.

"We don't intend to attack anybody," Jordanian Maj.Gen. Awni el-Edwan told reporters Sunday, while commenting on the annual exercises' first ever deployment of U.S. Patriot missiles. Jordan has been jittery over reports of chemical weapons use in the two-year civil war.

Meanwhile, Syria's regime and its patron, Russia, have expressed concern over the Patriot deployment.

President Bashar Assad's forces appear to be regaining control in recent days over areas taken by rebels, particularly the strategic town of Qusair.