AMMAN - Jordan on Wednesday asked the United States to provide manned US surveillance aircraft to help keep an eye on its border with Syria, the top US military officer said, as the kingdom struggles to contain fallout from Syria's civil war.
The request came during a visit by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and would further bolster the US military support to Jordan after US decisions to station F-16 aircraft and Patriot missiles there.
"Here in Jordan, in particular, they're interested in what we can do to help them see and secure their very long border with Syria," Dempsey said, adding the Jordan also sought help better integrating different sources of intelligence.
Dempsey said he had been asking what else the United States could do to better support Jordan, a key ally, and the manned "intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance" (ISR) aircraft were among the items discussed.
"There's a process that we have for those kind of formal requests and I'll take it back with me to Washington," he said.
Jordan is Dempsey's second and last stop on a trip to the Middle East that began on Monday in Israel. It came at a delicate moment for the two close US allies, who are grappling with the implications of potentially long-term regional unrest stemming from Syria's conflict and bloody political upheaval in Egypt, which overshadowed Dempsey's trip to Amman.