Leon Panetta

U.S. troops totaling 150 have been sent to the Jordan-Syrian border according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Speaking at a NATO conference of defense ministers in Brussels, Panetta said that their mission is to build a central HQ in Jordan and reinforce it’s military capabilities in the event that violence escalates along the border with Syria.

Panetta told attendees that the United States wanted to “build a headquarters there (in Jordan) and to insure that we make the relationship between the United States and Jordan a strong one, so that we can deal with all of the possible consequences of what’s happening in Syria.”

The forces in Jordan are operating from a joint U.S.-Jordanian military center north of Amman.

Washington has been working with Jordan to monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria and to help with the growing number of Syrian refugees.

Panetta’s announcement came after days of shelling between Turkey and Syria which many feel is an indication that civil war is becoming a regional conflict.