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U.S. sends military personnel to Jordan for Syrian crisis: report

(Xinhua)

08:44, October 11, 2012

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. military has sent planners and other specialists to Jordan to help that country's armed forces handle a flood of Syrian refugees, and prepare for other contingencies as the crisis in Syria continues, media reports said Wednesday.

A New York Times report quoted U.S. officials as saying the task force is consisted of more than 150, and is led by a senior American officer.

The team is based at a Jordanian military training center built into an old rock quarry north of Amman, and is now largely focused on helping Jordanians handle the estimated 180,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed the border and are severely straining the country's resources.

The team's mission also includes drawing up plans to insulate Jordan from the upheaval in Syria and to avoid the kind of clashes now occurring along the border of Syria and Turkey, according to the report.

Officials have discussed establishing a buffer zone between Syria and Jordan, which would be enforced by Jordanian forces.

Jordan is an important U.S. ally in the Middle East, and the report said the American mission in Jordan quietly began this summer.

It includes communications specialists, logistics experts, planners, trainers and headquarters staff members. They spend the bulk of their time working with the Jordanian military on logistics to handle the refugee situation.

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