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US F-16 deployed in Jordan

Things are heating up in the Middle East as tensions are rising between Syria, Russia, the USA and the rest of the international community. And the direct consequence is that The United States will deploy Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and F-16 fighter jets to Syria’s neighbour Jordan this month, drawing swift condemnation from Moscow which accused the West of sending weapons to fuel Syria’s civil war. Jordan said the planes and missiles will be sent as part of an annual exercise to begin in the last week of June. Military sources said the exercises would involve armies from at least 18 countries with more than 15,000 troops. Jordan is a U.S. ally in the region and one of the Arab countries that backs the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting insurgents in a two-year-old civil war that has killed 80,000 people. The deployment of Patriot missiles is particularly controversial for Russia, Assad’s main global ally, which believes the missiles could be used by the United States and its allies to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, heralding the first direct Western military intervention. Moscow complained vociferously last year when the United States, Germany and the Netherlands deployed Patriots on Syria’s northern border in Turkey, a NATO ally. NATO said the Patriots were sent there as a precaution in case missiles were fired over the border from Syria. Moscow said that decision was a factor in its decision to go ahead with plans to send its own anti-aircraft system, the S-300, to Assad’s government. The Russian system has not yet been deployed but Moscow said in recent weeks it would fulfill the delivery contract. Assad’s air power is one of his main advantages against the rebels, who are relatively lightly armed with weapons they receive from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The United States and Russia have jointly called for a peace conference on Syria later this month, the first attempt in a year by the powers supporting the opposing sides in the civil war to find a diplomatic solution.

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