The Jaber-Nassif border crossing, which was reopened in 2021 (Photo credit: Al-Joumhouria)
Syrian government affiliated newspaper, Al-Watan, released a report on 25 January quoting a source from the country’s southern governorate of Deraa as saying that the Syrian side of the border with Jordan will witness a significant boost in security measures – aimed at curbing drug smuggling and the illegal entry of militants into the kingdom’s territory.
According to the source, the new border control policies will begin to be implemented next week.
A high-ranking Syrian security source told Russian media on 26 January that “a decision was taken to increase the number of border posts between the two countries, in addition to continuing patrols of the Russian military police in the area between the countryside of Suwayda and Deraa.”
The source went on to say that a tour was carried out on the Syrian-Jordanian border by Russian military police, Syrian security forces, and ex-militants who took part in the reconciliation efforts that helped bring an end to fierce clashes in Deraa in 2021.
“The tour was carried out to examine the field in preparation for setting new measures to curb smuggling operations and prevent the movement of militants across borders between the two countries,” it added.
Lately, there has been a surge in drug smuggling through the Syrian-Jordanian border, particularly captagon pills, the trademark narcotic of the Syrian war, which came to be known as the ‘ISIS drug.’ Additionally, there has been increased militant activity on the border, which threatens both the security of the Hashemite kingdom, and the security of Deraa and Suwayda.
Despite its role in arming and funding the extremist opposition in Syria, including through the use of CIA training camps on its territory, the opening up of ties between Amman and Damascus in 2021 has most likely made it easier for Jordan to address the security situation on the border with its Syrian neighbor.
Earlier this month, during a meeting with Russian officials in Amman, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi called for increased security cooperation with Russia to protect both the Jordanian and Syrian sides of the border.
In August 2021, the strategic Jaber-Nassif border crossing between Jordan and Syria was reopened. Not long after, President Bashar al-Assad and Jordan’s King Abdullah II held their first phone call in a decade, marking the resumption of friendly ties between Damascus and Amman following years of the latter’s involvement in fueling the war.