BRUSSELS, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed Wednesday a U.S. task force has been sent to Jordan to help the country tackle "all possible consequences" of the ongoing Syria crisis.
Following a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers, Panetta told reporters that the U.S. and Jordan have been working for some time over a range of issues, including providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees, monitoring chemical and biological weapons in Syria, and helping the Jordanian military develop capabilities for contingency operation.
"That is the reason we have a group of our forces there. They are working to help them build headquarters there, to ensure that we make the relationship between the U.S. and Jordan a strong one," he said. "So we can deal with all of the possible consequences of what is happening in Syria."
The New York Times reported Tuesday that the U.S. military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan.
It is now largely focused on helping Jordanians handle the estimated 180,000 Syrian refugees who have crossed the border, the newspaper said.