Jordan army kills ays it killed drug and weapons smugglers from Syria

Jordan army kills ays it killed drug and weapons smugglers from Syria
Jordanian forces targeted suspected drug and weapons smugglers across the border in Syria, which has become a hotbed for drug trading in the Middle East.
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Jordan has frequently attempted to counter drug trade and smuggling via Syria [Getty/file photo]

Jordan's army said on Saturday a number of drug and weapons smugglers were killed in clashes that began at dawn as they infiltrated from Syria across Jordan's northern border.

The army had earlier said it was pursuing large numbers of smugglers carrying hauls of drugs and weapons, who had crossed the border under cover of heavy fog.

Jordan on Thursday launched air strikes in Syria against suspected warehouses and hideouts of Iranian-backed drug smugglers, Jordanian and regional intelligence sources said.

The army has stepped up a campaign against drug dealers after protracted clashes last month with dozens of heavily armed infiltrators from Syria linked to pro-Iranian militias.

"This continued threat to our national security won't end with a raid or confrontation ... It's a long war," Minister of Government Communications Muhannad Mubaidin told public broadcaster Al Mamlaka.

Jordanian officials, like their Western allies, say Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and other pro-Iranian militias who control much of southern Syria are behind a surge in drug and weapons smuggling.

Iran and Hezbollah say the allegations are part of a Western plot against them. Syria denies complicity with Iranian-backed militias linked to its army and security forces.

War-torn Syria has become the region's main centre in a multi-billion-dollar drug trade, with Jordan a key transit route to the Gulf states for a Syrian-made amphetamine known as captagon, Western anti-narcotics officials and Washington say.

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