US Military Task Force Dispatched to Jordan

The Defense Department has sent a task force of roughly 150 military advisors to Jordan to assist Jordanian forces in dealing with an influx of Syrian refugees into their country, reported The Hill newspaper. The task force also is intended to serve as stopgap measure in case the Syrian government loses control of its chemical and biological weapon stockpiles, states the Oct. 10 report. Speaking at a new conference during the close of the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels on Oct. 10, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said “we have a group of our forces [in Jordan], working to help them build a headquarters and to ensure that we make the relationship between the United States and Jordan a strong one so we can deal with all the possible consequences” of the war in Syria. The United States also is working with Turkey on similar humanitarian issues, said Panetta. “They’re obviously concerned about the CBW sites as well, so we’ve worked with them to do what we can to monitor that situation,” he said. (Includes AFPS report by Cheryl Pellerin) (See also Panetta transcript.)