Jordan silent after 4 Syrian drug smugglers killed trying to cross border

It’s a ‘non-negotible’ national security issue, former general says

THE AFTERMATH OF a suicide bomb attack is seen in Sweida, Syria, this week.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
THE AFTERMATH OF a suicide bomb attack is seen in Sweida, Syria, this week.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Four people identified in the international media as drug smugglers were killed over the weekend by Jordanian military gunfire as they tried to cross the border into Jordan. Bedouins located the four bodies south of the Syrian town of Sweida located on the border with Jordan, according to reports. Jordanian officials have been quiet on the case and the Jordanian media has not reported the killing of the drug smugglers.

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Surge in smugglings 

Smuggling cases have been on the rise from Syria into Jordan, most of which are headed to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Military analyst Mamoun Abu Nuwar, a retired Jordanian Air Force major general, told The Media Line that the cross-border drug smuggling is a national security issue for Jordan.

The view from Mount Bental, overlooking the border with Syria in the Golan Heights, August 22, 2020 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)The view from Mount Bental, overlooking the border with Syria in the Golan Heights, August 22, 2020 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

“On a number of perspectives, this is a national security issue that is non-negotiable,” he said. Abu Nuwar says that anyone breaching the borders with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is crossing a red line. He is unable to explain why the story had not yet been reported in Jordanian media. The drug issue is a source of worry, but it is not a priority in comparison to the larger discussions now going on dealing with trying to find a lasting solution to the Syrian crisis caused by the country's long-running civil war, another source told The Media Line.

Senior Russian officials including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have been in Jordan recently and many political circles say they are cooking up a comprehensive deal. The Jordan-Syrian border is not isolated from the Syria-Turkey border, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling for a 30-kilometer buffer zone that reaches deep into Syrian territory. Any agreement regarding an understanding in Syria will need to include a host of countries and powers including the United States, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Hizbullah, Turkey and Jordan.

A journalist that publishes the local Sweida24 website told The Media Line that the bodies of more alleged smugglers might be found soon. Rayan Maarouf told the Al Hurra website that a number of smugglers have been missing for some time. Gunfire exchange has taken place at that location during the past days, he said. Rayan said that a number of homes in the area, especially the towns of Mughaier and Kherbet Awad, suffered damages due to the heavy cross-border exchange of fire between the smugglers and the Jordanian army.