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US to deploy 200 troops to Jordan to curb Syria violence - Hagel

The US will deploy 200 troops to Jordan in the coming weeks in a bid to support that country’s defenses, Washington says, as the Syrian crisis escalates.

The Wednesday statement came from US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Congress. He said the deployment will assist the efforts to contain violence on the Syrian border, as well as set the groundwork for combating any perceived threats of chemical weapons use in Syria.

The troops of the 1st Armed Division will arrive to replace the US forces already stationed in the country for a few months. The new deployment will now also include specialists in the fields of intelligence, operations and logistics. It has also been said the troops will include commanding officers to lay the future groundwork for coordinating a larger deployment, if the need arises.

"Currently, the U.S. forces assisting Jordan now are troops pulled from various units and places," Hagel said at the Senate Armed Service Committee meeting. He explained that deploying troops that had previously worked together will enhance the unit's teamwork.

Some experts find the deployment to be a disturbing possible contributor to regional instability, comparing it to a time when the US was planning to invade Iraq.

Conn Hallinan from Foreign Policy in Focus stresses that “since a major job for these troops will be logistical, it does appear as if they are preparing the groundwork like they did for the invasion of Iraq by going into Saudi Arabia and preparing there... It’s a serious escalation and a disturbing one.”

The Syrian uprising, which has been ongoing for two years, has taken the lives of more than 70,000, displacing more than a million.