[QODLink]
Middle East

Jordan to host army chiefs for Syria talks

US military chief Martin Dempsey to attend meeting with several army chiefs of staff from Western and Muslim nations.

Last Modified: 26 Aug 2013 02:09
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
US' top military officer General Martin Dempsey was believed to be taking part in the talks in Amman [AP]

Military commanders from Western and Muslim countries are meeting in Jordan to discuss the Syria conflict, as Western powers weigh military action in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack.

The meeting, which was expected to start late on Sunday, came at the invitation of Jordan's chief of staff Meshaal Mohamed al-Zaban and General Lloyd Austin, head of Centcom, the US command responsible for 20 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, according to Jordanian officials.

America's top military officer General Martin Dempsey was taking part, as well as chiefs of staff from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada, said an official cited by Jordan's state news agency.

Syria agreed on Sunday to let the United Nations inspect the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack, but a US official told Reuters news agency that such an offer was "too late to be credible" and Washington was all but certain that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had gassed its own people.

The comments follow forceful remarks from other Western powers, including Britain and France, which also said they believe Assad's government was behind the massive attack that killed many hundreds of people last week.

Earlier on Sunday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US military was ready to take action against the Syrian government if ordered.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said the meeting had been scheduled for months.

"The meeting is not a reaction to what happened recently in Syria. It is one of a series of meetings of the army chiefs of countries concerned about the situation in Syria," he added.

"At the same time, the meeting will discuss the situation and scenarios on the ground, especially after the recent dangerous developments. The army chiefs have to have comprehensive talks and examine the impact on the region."

Syria's information minister has said any US military action would "create a ball of fire that will inflame the Middle East".

332

Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.