Jordan announced June 9 the start of military exercises involving more than 8,000 soldiers and observers from 19 different countries, including Turkey, but insisted the maneuvers were unrelated to the conflict in neighboring Syria.
Around 4,500 U.S. troops and 3,000 Jordanian soldiers are taking part in the air, land and sea “Eager Lion 2013” exercise, which lasts until June 20.
“Eager Lion this year will focus on irregular warfare, like combating terrorism and insurgency,” Major Gen. Awni el-Edwan, the Jordan Armed Forces’ operations chief of staff, told reporters. “The exercises have nothing to do with any regional developments around Jordan,” Edwan said, referring to the conflict in Syria.
The U.S. has said it was sending a Patriot missile battery and F-16 fighters to Jordan for Eager Lion, and may keep them there to counter the threat posed by the Syrian civil war. During Eager Lion, troops from Britain, Bahrain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Iraq, Italy, Lebanon, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen will stage battlefield, logistics and humanitarian exercises.