Report: US sending fighter jets, Patriot missiles into Jordan

Defense Secretary Chuck HagelChuck HagelSpy agencies changed rules, making it easier to unmask members of Congress Pentagon withholding nuclear weapons inspection results: report Lobbying World MORE approved the Patriot missile battery and several F-16 fighter jets to be sent to Jordan, as part of an upcoming joint military exercise in the country, dubbed Eager Lion, this month, according to CNN

However, the weaponry may be kept inside Jordan at the end of the exercise, to help Amman defend its borders against the ongoing Syrian civil war.

The Department of Defense (DOD) set up Patriot anti-missile batteries along the Turkish-Syria border, in order to prevent the war from boiling over into Turkish territory. 

Roughly 27 U.S. service members arrived in the Turkish city of Gaziantep in the southern part of the country in January. 

American soldiers will remain in Turkey to operate the U.S.-built missile defense systems requested from NATO by Ankara late last year. 

The Patriots were sent to Jordan "in order to enhance the defensive posture and capacity" of the country, a Central Command spokesman told CNN on Monday. 

U.S. forces are also on the ground in Jordan, working with defense officials in Amman on contingency plans should the civil war in Syria bleed over into the country.

The spokesman made no comment on whether the additional U.S. assets in Jordan were part of an effort by Washington to set up a no-fly zone around Syria. 

Several senior congressional lawmakers, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl LevinPresident Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Republicans can learn from John McCain’s heroism Trump and GOP wise to keep tax reform and infrastructure separate MORE (D-Mich.), have been ramping up pressure on President Obama to take on a larger, military role to end the Syrian civil war. 

That larger role, according to Levin and others, should include the creation of no-fly zones around Syria, and the use of American air power against Syrian president Bashar Assad's formidable air defenses. 

Syrian opposition forces have battled troops loyal to Assad to a bloody stalemate over the past three years. 

Despite gains made in cities like Homs and Aleppo, Assad forces have battered rebel forces with the regime's superior air power and heavy weaponry. 

Recent claims the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against opposition forces has only ratcheted up the pressure on the White House to intervene.

President Obama has repeatedly stated the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would cross a "red line" with Washington, prompting a military response. 

That said, members of the House Armed Services Committee are calling upon the Pentagon to brief Congress on all military intervention options for Syria. 

Along with the report, called for in the committee's version of the fiscal year 2014 defense authorization bill, lawmakers are seeking a sense of Congress "that President Obama’s publicly stated red lines must be enforced," according to the legislation released Monday. 

The House defense panel remains "concerned that the Administration’s failure to identify key national security interests in the Syrian conflict has led to a hesitance to develop military options to respond to the Syrian crisis," the bill states. 

"Understanding that unilateral response to the Syrian crisis is not in America’s best interest, the proposal [also] authorizes [the Pentagon] to train and equip regional partners for [weapons of mass destruction] response," it adds.