ZARQA, Jordan (AP) — Jordanian and US army officers have launched multinational military exercises involving border security and irregular warfare in this key US Mideast ally.

The 12-day “Eager Lion” exercises bring together 8,000 personnel from 19 mainly Arab and European countries to bolster defense capabilities in the face of a possible flare-up from neighboring Syria.

“We don’t intend to attack anybody,” Jordanian Maj. Gen. Awni el-Edwan told reporters Sunday, while commenting on the annual exercises’ first ever deployment of US Patriot missiles. Jordan has been jittery over reports of chemical weapons use in the two-year civil war.

Meanwhile, Syria’s regime and its patron, Russia, have expressed concern over the Patriot deployment.

President Bashar Assad’s forces appear to be regaining control in recent days over areas taken by rebels, particularly the strategic town of Qusair.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press