They further claimed that “this comes to protect allies if the war in neighboring Syria spills over the border.”
“The increased show of US military might – which brings the total number of US forces in Jordan to as many as 1,000 – should be seen as a signal to Syria that it must confine its 2-year-old civil war within its borders,” officials said.
The officials claimed it is meant to show that the US is committed to its defense relationship with Jordan and that America intends to maintain a strong presence in the region.
The officials added, however, that the decision to keep the F-16 fighters there is not a first step toward establishing a no-fly zone around any parts of Syria and should not be interpreted as a move to begin staging American troops there for possible military action in Syria. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the mission publicly.
The F-16 fighters, along with a Patriot missile battery and about 700 US.troops, are staying in Jordan beyond an international military exercise, which ended this week.
The decision significantly increases the number of US troops in Jordan, adding to the approximately 250 that have been there for some time.
Jordan had asked the US to leave some military troops and equipment behind.
In parallel, the Syrian armed groups revealed Friday that they have recently received new weapons that could “change the course of the battle” against the Syrian Army, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army.
“The “Friends of Syria” group of countries that support the rebels is expected to announce in Doha Saturday that it will arm the opposition,” FSA media and political coordinator spokesman Louay Moqdad said.
“We’ve received quantities of new types of weapons, including some that we asked for and that we believe will change the course of the battle on the ground.
He further stated that the armed groups “have begun distributing them on the front lines, they will be in the hands of professional officers and FSA fighters.”
Meanwhile, he did not specify what weapons had been received or when they had arrived, but added that a new shipment was expected in the coming days and recalled that the armed groups had asked for “deterrent weapons.”
“That means anti-aircraft weapons, anti-tank weapons, as well as ammunition,” he said.
Senior opposition figure Burhan Ghalioun confirmed that the FSA had recently received “sophisticated weapons” including “an anti-aircraft defense system.”
Another opposition source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the system was “Russian-made” but declined to say which country had supplied it.
The apparent influx of arms comes after the United States said it would provide rebel forces with “military support”.
“They will be collected after the fall of the regime, we have made this commitment to the friends and brotherly countries” that supplied the arms, Moqdad claimed.
He added that rebels were expecting “a clear and official announcement by the countries participating [in Doha] on the arming of the FSA.”
“That’s what we are hoping for, that’s what we are waiting for,” he added, declining to say which countries were providing the new weaponry.
“We received information that in the coming days, we will receive new shipments of weapons that will change the course of the battle and the equation of death,” he added.
The head of the commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria is warning that sending arms to either side of the bloody conflict could lead to more war crimes.
“States who provide arms have a responsibility in terms of the eventual use of these arms to commit gross human rights violations, war crimes or crimes against humanity,” Paulo Pinheiro said.