U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta arrived in Jordan today for talks with King Abdullah II on the conflict in neighboring Syria and the influx of refugees to Jordan.
“Both of our nations share concerns about what is happening in Syria and the impact that that could have on regional stability,” Panetta told reporters before arriving in Amman on a last leg of a regional tour of Tunisia, Egypt and Israel.
“We are working very closely with them (Jordanians) along with a lot of international and non-governmental partners, to provide humanitarian assistance to support those that have been affected by violence in Syria.”
Jordan, which is currently hosting more than 145,000 Syrians, opened a refugee camp on Sunday with the aim of helping those have fled escalating violence across its northern border.
The Zaatari camp in Mafraq can take up to 120,000 people.
More than 276,000 Syrians have fled their country mainly to Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.
“The department of defense has reached unprecedented levels of cooperation with the Jordanian Armed Forces. We have done that in light of what is happening in Syria,” Panetta said.
“We have done that in a way to try to develop as close a partnership as possible to deal with any contingency that may happen there.”