(AMMAN, Jordan) — Jordan has deployed “thousands” of ground troops to the Iraqi border, a source close to the Jordanian government told ABC News Tuesday, in its latest move to counter the advance of the Islamic State group.
The Jordanian source says the troops will likely stay on their side of the border in a defensive posture, for now, and will not enter Iraq without approval from the Iraqi government.
However, on the other side of the border, the head of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, retired Marine Gen. John Allen told Jordan’s official Petra news agency, “there will be a major counteroffensive on the ground in Iraq” shortly.
Coalition firepower would support the Iraq-led offensive, he added.
Since ISIS released the barbaric video showing Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh burning alive last week, King Abdullah’s revenge has been swift and Jordan’s military has ramped up its involvement in the fight against ISIS.
Gen. Allen, told ABC News’ This Week in an exclusive interview that the video “absolutely” backfired on the Islamic State group. Instead, he said, the video “galvanized the coalition, unified the coalition.”
He added: “It’s a very important moment for our Arab allies within the coalition.”
Over the weekend, Jordan requested an expanded role in the coalition, according to U.S. officials. Jordanian F-16s launched a total of 56 airstrikes, successfully targeting arms depots, logistical centers and wiping out 20 percent of the group’s capabilities, according to Jordan’s air force chief Major General al Jobour.
The United Arab Emirates, one of the five Arab members of the U.S.-led coalition, which had quietly suspended airstrikes in December, re-engaged over the weekend,sending a squadron of F-16s to Jordan. The country’s official news agency said the move “reaffirm[ed] the UAE’s unwavering and constant solidarity with Jordan.”
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