Fox News on June 15, 2013, reported that as the United States prepares to supply Syrian rebels with small arms through a CIA-run program, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Saturday that U.S. troops temporarily in neighboring Jordan will leave behind fighter jets and a cache of Patriot missiles. Excerpts below:

So far the White House has committed only to supplying rebel forces with small arms and ammunition, following confirmation that the regime of Syria President Bashar al-Assad’s has been using chemical weapons in the 2-year-long civil war in which at least 90,000 people have been killed.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and others have called for much heavier arms including the Patriot defense missiles and for the United States to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria.

However, the Pentagon made clear the detachment of missiles and F-16s was brought to Jordan as part an annual, multi-nation military exercise called Eager Lion and will remain there only at the request of the country leaders, when the exercise ends next week.

Critics of the plan say it might be too little, too late as Assad’s forces appear to be taking control of the war.

The White House has still not decided whether to send anti-tank weapons, while the CIA prepares to arm and train the rebels….

The United States also has roughly 5,000 troops in Jordan. But they will leave at the end of the military exercise. And the arming of the Syrian rebels will happen in Turkey, another bordering county, military sources say.


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