Jordan to deploy Patriot missiles along border with Syria
Published Sunday, May 26, 2013
Jordan, which shares borders with war-torn Syria, said on Sunday it is in talks with "friendly countries" to deploy Patriot missiles on its territory after a similar move by Turkey.
"Jordan wishes to deploy Patriot missile batteries in order to boost its defense capabilities and help protect the country," Information Minister Mohammed Momani told a news conference.
"We are currently at the stage of talks with friendly states," said Momani, who is also government spokesman, declining to elaborate.
A NATO source told AFP last week that four batteries of Patriot missiles have arrived in Turkey as part of a mission by the alliance to protect the Turkish border from any spillover of the conflict in neighboring Syria.
NATO approved their deployment in December, claiming the use of ballistic missiles by the Syrian government posed a threat to Turkey.
Jordan, home to more than 500,000 Syrian refugees, has similar concerns as Turkey.
"We wish and we demand Patriot missiles. We always talk about this because we want to protect ourselves," Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur told Qatar's al-Sharq newspaper last week.
Other countries in possession of Patriot missiles in the region include Egypt, Israel, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
In April, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed that some 150 US military specialists have been deployed in Jordan since last year and that he had ordered a US Army headquarters team to bolster the mission, bringing the total American presence to more than 200 troops.