x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Jordan opposed to military intervention in Syria

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad warns that his country's crisis could engulf the kingdom, as more US troops head to Amman.

AMMAN // Jordan said yesterday it was against military intervention in Syria, as more US troops head to Amman amid a warning by President Bashar Al Assad that the crisis could engulf the kingdom.

"Our position on the situation in Syria has not changed," said information minister Mohammad Momani. "We are still against any military intervention in Syria. "We urge a political solution to end the bloodshed in Syria."

Mr Momani, who is also Jordan's government spokesman, declined to comment on Mr Al Assad's remarks.

"At the moment, we will not comment on what the president said to avoid any political or security fallout. We are studying the situation," he said.

In an interview with official Al-Ikhbariya channel on Wednesday, Mr Al Assad warned that the fire in Syria could spread to Jordan, which he accused of allowing Syrian rebels free movement across its borders.

Also on Wednesday, US defence secretary Chuck Hagel revealed that about 150 military specialists from the US were deployed to Jordan last year and that he had ordered a US Army headquarters team to bolster the mission, bringing the total American presence to more than 200 troops.

"These personnel will continue to work alongside Jordanian Armed Forces to improve readiness and prepare for a number of scenarios," Hagel said.

The US troops were deployed to Jordan to help secure Syria's chemical weapons if necessary and prepare for a possible spillover from Syria, where Assad's regime has been battling rebels trying to oust him since March 2011.

Mr Momani said the US deployment "is part of US-Jordanian military cooperation".

He had on Wednesday said that the dispatch of US troops was "to boost the Jordanian armed forces in light of the deteriorating situation in Syria".

Jordan, a key US ally in the region, says it is hosting about 500,000 Syrian refugees.

prime minister Abdullah Nsur told parliament on Sunday that the effect of Syria's war posed a threat to the kingdom's security and Jordan would seek the UN Security Council's help to tackle the fallout.