Monday, October 25, 2021

Syria, Jordan reopen border crossings amid pressure to normalize ties

Jordan reopened its main border with Syria on Wednesday amid an apparent regional push to reintegrate Damascus into regional political and economic structures.

Jordan and Syria officially reopened the main Jaber-Nasib border crossing between the two countries on Wednesday, after a clear US green light to begin regional trade and economic deals. Egypt recently agreed to sell gas to Lebanon through both Jordan and Syria.

Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV reported that the decision to resume flights between the Jordanian capital Amman and the Syrian capital Damascus was canceled due to protests from Washington.

The military chiefs of both Syria and Jordan recently met in Damascus to work on the final details of the reopening of the key border link between the two countries.

Jordan has lost nearly $20 billion in trade over the past 10 years due to the closure of its border with Syria and the disruption of regional trade routes between Turkey and Lebanon to the Gulf states through Syria and Jordan.

Colonel Ahmed Qarran, a top Jordanian customs officer at the Jaber-Nasib border crossing, told Arab media that “traffic between Syria and Jordan has been on the moderate side,” but that he “expects trade traffic to pick up in the times to come.” ” Day.”

Egyptian political sociologist Said Sadek told VOA that the decision to reopen the border crossing between Jordan and Syria is a “practical” step following the realization that the Syrian opposition is “not going to win the conflict against the government in Damascus”. And relations between Damascus and its Arab neighbors need to be restarted.

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“Now, there is a realization that (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad and (his Russian supporters) have won, the opposition has lost, and the US is withdrawing from the region,” he said. From Egypt to Jordan to Syria (and so forth) to Lebanon.”

Sadek said several Arab foreign ministers, including those from Egypt and Jordan, met with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad on the sidelines of the just-concluded UN General Assembly annual session, indicating “something is in the air”. With regard to normalizing relations with Syria. He believes that “reducing tensions will benefit the Syrian economy, the people and the region as a whole.”

Washington-based Middle East analyst Paul Sullivan told VOA that the border between Syria and Jordan has a “difficult history” in addition to “current tensions”.

He believes that “normalizing relations with the Assad regime in part of the border” will not be easy, while still dealing with a myriad of dissident groups within Syria and outside Syria.

Sullivan suggested that the border could be “re-closed” at some point in the future due to tensions over various issues, and he thinks Jordan would be wise to “strengthen security at the border”.

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