Jordan: chief of staff meets Syrian defence minister over border security

Jordan’s chief of staff met with the Syrian defence minister in Amman yesterday to discuss border security, Hala Akhbar has reported. The meeting between Jordan’s General Yousef Huneiti and General Ali Ayoub looked at ways to “increase coordination in border security” in the interests of both countries.

The agenda included the recent fighting in southern Syria as well as drug smuggling across the border. Syrian state-run media said that it focused on “fighting terrorism” and border control.

Ayoub’s visit accompanied by senior Syrian military officers came barely two weeks after regime forces in Syria entered districts in the southern province of Daraa which were previously held by opposition elements.

READ: Russian president, Jordan’s king discuss Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine

Following a two-month siege by the Assad regime and its allied Iranian militias, Russia finally brokered a deal which allowed the opposition elements to be transported to the rebel-held north-west of the country. In return, the regime has full control of Daraa and the “reconciliation” of former rebels who decided to remain.

This particular conflict has, over the past few months, threatened the security along the border with Jordan, forcing the Nasib border crossing to close. Smugglers have been intercepted by the Jordanian authorities, making Amman cautious of continuing to allow trade and goods to flow between the two countries. The smuggling of narcotics across the border often involves the regime in Damascus.

The visit by Ayoub is being seen as an attempt by Damascus to smooth its relationship with Amman and reassure the Jordanian government that the border is secure and stable.


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