By LOLITA C. BALDOR and PAULINE JELINEK Enlarge PhotoAssociated Press/Virginia Mayo – United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gestures while speaking during a media conference after a meeting of NATO Defense Ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels …more on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. NATO defense ministers gathered in Belgium Wednesday to begin deliberating the next phase of the Afghanistan war and to hear how military commanders plan to tamp down the insider attacks that have killed or injured 130 allied forces. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) less Related ContentEnlarge GalleryA view shows the wreckage of a bus after a bomb exploded at al- Zablatani area, in … BRUSSELS (AP) — The United States has sent military troops to the Jordan-Syria border to bolster that country’s military capabilities in the event that violence escalates along its border with Syria, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday.
Speaking at a NATO conference of defense ministers in Brussels, Panetta said the U.S. has been working with Jordan to monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria and also to help Jordan deal with refugees pouring over the border from Syria. The troops are also building a headquarters for themselves.
But the revelation of U.S. military personnel so close to the 19-month-old Syrian conflict suggests an escalation in the U.S. military involvement in the conflict, even as Washington pushes back on any suggestion of a direct intervention in Syria.
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