US troops have been deployed to the Jordan-Syria border "to deal with the possible consequences" of the civil war, defence secretary Leon Panetta has confirmed.
Speaking at a Nato conference of defence ministers in Brussels, Panetta told delegates the troops were there to build a headquarters and bolster Jordan's military capabilities as violence in Syria continues to escalate.
Pentagon press secretary, George Little, said in a statement: "We have been planning for various contingencies, both unilaterally and with our regional partners.
Leon Panetta making the announcement at a NATO defence conference
"There are various scenarios in which the Assad regime's reprehensible actions could affect our partners in the region.
"For this reason and many others, we are always working on our contingency planning, for which we consult with our friends."
The US is also providing aid to Syrian refugees that have sought refuge across the Jordanian border.
October has seen a dramatic increase in tension as Syria's civil war looks ever more likely to spill overs its borders and become a regional crisis.
Turkey has continued to fire retaliatory shells at Syrian Army positions in response to mortar attacks across its border that have killed Turkish civillians.
The US has rebuffed any notion of direct intervention in Syria and Turkey has not invoked article 5 of the Nato charter that would oblige all members to treat the attacks on Turkey as an attack on them all and respond accordingly.
Despite this, the positioning of American troops along the Jordan-Syria border is a clear indication that the world's largest military power is not going to stand idly by let the Syria's civil crisis escalate into a national war.
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