Middle East

Jordan says won't be 'launchpad' for any Syria strikes

In this Aug. 23, 2013, photo, a Syrian protester waves the Syrian revolutionary flag, during a protest in front of the Syrian embassy to condemn the alleged poison gas attack on the suburbs of Damascus, during a protest in front of the Syrian embassy, in Amman, Jordan. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

AMMAN: Jordan will not be a "launchpad" for military intervention in Syria, a senior government official said Tuesday, as Western and Muslim army chiefs wrapped up a meeting on the conflict.

"Jordan's position has not changed. Jordanian territories will not be used as launchpad for any military action against Damascus," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Amman has repeatedly called for political solution in Syria.

The official's remarks came on the second and final day of a meeting of senior military officers to discuss the regional impact of the war in Syria.

"The outcome of this meeting on developments in Syria is not expected to be announced to the media because of the nature of the meeting," the official said, without elaborating.

The state-run Petra news agency has quoted a military spokesman as saying the meeting comes at the invitation of Jordan's army 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.

US army chief General Martin Dempsey was to take part, along with chiefs of staff from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada.

"Again, the meeting has be been scheduled for months. Similar meetings were held before in London and Doha," the government official said.

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said on Sunday the meeting "will discuss the situation and scenarios on the ground, especially after the recent dangerous developments. The army chiefs have to have comprehensive talks and examine the impact on the region."

A drumbeat toward western retaliation against Damascus seemed to be getting louder as the United States and its allies mulled military action as they blamed President Bashar al-Assad's regime for a suspected chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week.

The Washington Post cited senior administration officials as saying President Barack Obama was weighing limited military strikes on targets in Syria.

Many in Jordan, which is already struggling with 500,000 Syrian refugees, fear further impact from the conflict.

Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur has said that the United States is providing its ally Jordan with technical assistance against any possible chemical threat from neighboring Syria.





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