01:51 GMT +322 January 2019
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    US Marines from Battalion Landing Team, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, walk nearby a mosque in the desert of Jebel Petra, near Aqaba seaport, south of Amman, Jordan

    'Golden Opportunity': US, Jordan Kick Off Chemical Drills 50 Km South of Syria

    © AP Photo / Mohammad Hannon
    Military & Intelligence
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    The drills, codenamed Eager Lion, are taking place at the Joint Training Center in Amman and Zarqa, Jordan, and are set include a mobile laboratory response to a 'simulated chemical incident.'

    Jordanian Brigadier-General Mohammed al-Thlaji, commander of the exercises from the Jordanian side, said the drills will involve all branches of the military, including special forces. Training will include counterterrorism, border security, crisis management, strategic communications and future planning, he said, according to Jordanian media.

    Approximately 7,000 troops are involved in the drills, including 3,500 US personnel.

    US CENTCOM director of Exercises & Training Maj. Gen. Jon Mott has confirmed that a mobile lab team will respond to a simulated chemical incident. The officer told reporters that chemical weapons are a threat that's "all too real, as we've seen recently in Syria." 

    Mott called the Eager Lion drills a "golden opportunity" to work out threat scenarios which may arise in the region at the operational level.

    The US, the UK and France launched airstrikes against targets in Damascus and Homs province on April 14 over an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Eastern Ghouta on April 7; Washington blamed the Douma attack on the Syrian government. Damascus and Moscow condemned Saturday's strikes, and called the Douma attack a false flag.


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