Jordan Hosts 18-Nation Military Drill

Jordan Hosts 18-Nation Military Drill
Jordan Hosts 18-Nation Military Drill

Thousands of soldiers from 18 countries took part Tuesday in military drills in Jordan jointly overseen by the US army, officials said.

Around 10,000 troops are participating in Jordan's fifth "Eager Lion" annual drills, which will last for two weeks.

The aerial, ground and naval exercises come as a US-led coalition battles the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria, AFP reported. Several other Arab states have joined a Saudi-led coalition carrying out air strikes on the Houthis in Yemen.

"Eager Lion has nothing to do with what is currently happening in the region," US major general Rick Mattson told reporters in Amman.

As well as troops from the US and Jordan, military contingents from several nearby Arab states and troops from France, Italy and Pakistan will take part in drills in the Jordanian desert.

The exercises will focus on challenges such as "combating terrorism" and border security, said Jordanian Brigadier General Fhad al-Damin.

Jordan has intensified its air raids against IS since the insurgents burned alive one of its pilots who crashed in Syria earlier this year, but there are fears its participation in US-led strikes could drag the country into nearby conflicts.