AMMAN, Jordan, June 23 (UPI) -- U.S. soldiers and military equipment will remain in Jordan to help defend the country in the event of a Syrian attack, Jordan's top military chief said.
In a statement posted on the Jordanian army website this weekend, Chief of Staff Mashal al-Zabin said U.S. troops and equipment will remain in the country as long as necessary.
"The United States met our request to send the Patriot missile battery and some F-16 aircraft to Jordan. These weapons -- with their staff, including ground support and the operating staff that they need -- will remain with us as long as Jordan needs them. This is because Jordan's interests, security and stability are above all considerations. We should defend our country, and be ready for what is taking place in the region," the Jordanian website Ammonnews.net quoted the lieutenant general as saying Sunday.
Zabin's statements came shortly after the Jordanian army, together with U.S., Arab and other Western armies concluded the Eager Lion military exercise. Summing up the military maneuvers, Jordanian army Col. Mekhled Awas Sulheim, the appointed military spokesman for the exercise, said the drill focused on non-conventional war, "fighting terrorism, resisting rebels, strategic transport and crises arising from the influx of refugees" from Syria, the website said.
"The exercises sent warning messages to the regime in Damascus," a Persian Gulf source was quoted as saying.