Clashes erupt near Syria-Jordan border after three killed in suspected drug-related shooting

Clashes erupt near Syria-Jordan border after three killed in suspected drug-related shooting
Fighting broke out in a south Syria village on Monday after three people were killed in what is believed to be a drug-related shooting.
2 min read
20 June, 2023
Jordan has resorted to military action to curb drugs smuggling from neighbouring Syria [Getty/archive]

Clashes erupted on Monday close to Syria's border with Jordan after three people were shot dead in the area earlier in the day.

Members of the Syrian regime military’s Eighth Brigade clashed with the 'Fayez al-Radi' group, which is made up of former rebels who have come to an agreement with the regime in the village of Nassib in Daraa province.

The fighting came in response to the shooting dead of three people who were travelling by car in the village of Al-Naima in Daraa province.

It was not clear why they were killed, but activist Abu Yazan Al-Harbi told The New Arab’s sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that one of the victims, Qusai Mohammad al-Hamid al-Zoubi, was a member of the Eighth Brigade.

The other casualties were his wife and brother.

The Eighth Brigade then swooped into Nassib in search of members of the 'Fayez Al-Radi' group accused of drug trafficking.

The trafficking of drugs is rampant in southern Syria, and its knock-on effects have angered other countries in the region, particularly neighbouring Jordan.

There were no reports of casualties in the clashes which followed the killings.

While The 'Fayez Al-Radi' group includes former members of the Syrian opposition, it is now accused of becoming a drug smuggling gang. The leader of the group, from which it takes its name, was killed about a month ago, allegedly by the Eighth Division.

Arab states have pressed the Assad regime in Damascus to curb the trafficking, as the drugs find their way through neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon.

Syria has become the world’s largest producer and exporter of the cheap but highly dangerous amphetamine pill called captagon, which has found itself a large market in the Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia.

The Syrian regime claims it is doing its best to end the smuggling and continues to bust smuggler rings in the south. It denies complicity in the trade by Iranian-backed militias linked to its army and security forces.

Last week, the Jordanian army said it had downed two drones carrying drugs from Syria into its northern frontier region, and it said Jordan would not allow the border area to become a frontline in an Iran-linked drug war.

In May, a suspected Jordanian airstrike killed Marei Al-Ramthan, an influential drug dealer known as Syria’s "Pablo Escobar" and destroyed a drugs factory.