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Gen. Dempsey is in Amman, Jordan, to meet with Arab and Western peers later Sunday to discuss ways to bolster the security of Syria’s neighbors against possible attacks, chemical or other, by Mr.  Assad’s regime, a Jordanian security official said.

The meeting, closed to the press and held at an unspecified location, is gathering chiefs of staff from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, the official said on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to brief reporters.

Associated Press writers Robert Burns in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Jamal Halaby in Amman contributed to this article.