Army chiefs meet in Jordan to discuss impact of Syria conflict
AMMAN - Military commanders from Western and Muslim countries are to meet in Jordan to discuss the impact of the Syria conflict, a Jordanian official said in remarks published on Saturday.
The meeting is to take place in the coming days at the invitation of Jordan's chief of staff Meshaal Mohamed al-Zaban and General Lloyd Austin, head of Centcom, the US command responsible for 20 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, said the unidentified official from Jordan's high command.
America's top military officer General Martin Dempsey would take part, as well as chiefs of staff from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada, said the official, cited by state news agency Petra.
The official said the meeting would be an opportunity to "examine the questions linked to the security of the region and the repercussions of the Syrian crisis, as well as means of military cooperation to assure the security of Jordan".
The announcement came as the international community called for a UN investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the war in Syria, which European countries and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad have blamed on the regime.
Syria's main opposition group, the National Coalition, accused the government of "massacring" more than 1,300 people in chemical weapons attacks on Wednesday.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel suggested on Friday that the Pentagon was moving forces into place ahead of possible military action against Syria, after Russia dismissed calls for use of force against its ally.
Last week, General Dempsey discussed ways to help the Jordanian military tackle fallout from the Syria conflict, including border surveillance, intelligence and training Jordan's Special Forces.
Fearing the conflict could spill over into Jordan, the United States has deployed F-16 fighters and Patriot missile defences, along with about 1,000 US troops, to protect its close Arab ally, a major beneficiary of US aid.