Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Sunday the kingdom was ready to defend itself from any threat to its security from the conflict in neighboring Syria.
“If the world does not help as it should, and if the matter becomes a danger to our country, we are able at any moment to take the necessary measures to protect the country and the interest of our people,” he said.
King Abdullah was speaking as Jordanian and U.S. forces proceeded with joint military exercises with the participation of 17 other countries. Diplomats say the exercises, which entered their second week, aim to send a strong message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
He also saluted members of his country’s armed forces who helped over the last year undertake a massive humanitarian relief operation to bring across the border hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing bombardment in their villages and towns and seeking a safe haven.
In the past week, the United States has moved Patriot missiles and fighter jets into Jordan, officially as part of an annual exercise, but making clear that the military assets could stay on when the war games are over.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that a U.S. military proposal to arm rebels fighting against Assad also calls for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria that could have been forced by U.S. and allied planes on Jordanian territory.