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US Considers Boosting Military Aid to Iraq, Lebanon

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Fears that the Syrian conflict could involve Iraq and Lebanon has the U.S. ready to supply those countries with bolstered military assistance.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has ruled out sending boots on the ground but will consider training teams along with hastening weapons and equipment sales.

In particular, Dempsey says the U.S. is concerned with the recent spike of sectarian-style violence in Iraq that is being further exacerbated by Islamic militant fighters crossing from Iraq to Syria to fight against the Syrian government.

Any U.S. assistance in Lebanon would go to help the government there, not Hezbollah, which many consider the real power.

A spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Thursday that Baghdad is open to the idea of more help, adding, "I think there should be bigger cooperation and coordination between all countries threatened by terrorism."

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