The United States will keep Patriot missile batteries and F-16 fighter jets in Jordan after the completion of joint military exercises this month amid the crisis in neighboring Syria, the Pentagon said on Saturday.
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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "has approved a request from the Kingdom of Jordan for a detachment of F-16s and Patriot Missiles to remain in Jordan following the conclusion of the Eager Lion Exercise next week," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
"All other U.S. personnel assigned to Jordan for Eager Lion will depart at the conclusion of the exercise. The United States enjoys a longstanding partnership with Jordan and is committed to its defense," Little added.
The Eager Lion exercises being conducted this month are held annually with a theme of irregular warfare and include more than 8,000 service members from about 19 countries, one U.S. official said. The drills will run from June 9 to 20.
"These annual exercises will increase the preparedness of the Jordanian army. This year we are in need of more advanced weapons," Jordanian Minister of Information Mohammad al-Momani told Reuters.