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Middle east

Jordan 'opens airspace for Israeli drones'

© Haaretz

Text by HAARETZ

Latest update : 2013-04-22

Jordan has opened its airspace to Israeli drones en route to monitor the situation in Syria, French newspaper Le Figaro has claimed in a report based on an interview with a Western military source in the Middle East.

Read premium content from Israel's Haaretz on www.france24.com.

Jordan has opened two corridors of its air space to allow unmanned Israeli drones through to monitor the situation in Syria, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Sunday.

The report is based on an interview with a Western military source based in the Middle East. There has been no official confirmation from any other source.

The source told Le Figaro that King Abdullah of Jordan decided to open the air space in an unusual gesture, following U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to the region last month. With such permission, Israeli would not have to fly over southern Lebanon en route to monitoring Syria.

Le Figaro said that only a restricted group of Western intelligence sources were aware of the Jordanian decision.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is currently in the region for a week-long five-country tour, his first official visit here since taking office.

Hagel will meet with his Israeli counterpart Moshe Ya'alon and President Shimon Peres on Monday. The Syrian crisis is expected to be a central topic of conversation during these meetings, and will also be the focus of his talks later this week in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Hagel said last week that he opposed U.S. military intervention in Syria, adding that such an option must be considered a last resort, though he has approved plans for Jordanian-American cooperation ahead of various possible scenarios.

The United States plans to provide about $100 million in new aid to the Syrian opposition that could mean an expansion of non-lethal military assistance for certain rebel groups to include body armor and night-vision goggles.

The new assistance will stop short of supplying weapons or other lethal equipment to rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, and also is far less than what some U.S. lawmakers and Syrian opposition leaders are seeking.
 

Click here to read more on Haaretz (registration required).

© Read premium content from leading Israeli daily Haaretz on FRANCE 24

Date created : 2013-04-22

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