Jordan accuses Syria of causing increase in kingdom’s drug cases

Jordan accuses Syria of causing increase in kingdom’s drug cases
Jordan's Interior Minister said he assumes "every truck" coming from Syria is carrying drugs.
2 min read
03 October, 2023
Jordan experienced a 34 per cent increase in drug trafficking cases this year. [Getty]

Jordan Interior Minister Mazen al-Faraya blamed Syria on Sunday, 1 October, for being the main driver of the sharp increase in drug trafficking cases in the kingdom, saying the country had "minimal control" of its borders.

Al-Faraya said that drug trafficking cases were up by over a third this year in an interview with the Jordanian paper Ammon and that despite dialogue with the Assad regime, "its ability to control its borders is minimal."

All you need to know
Drug trafficking cases in Jordan skyrocketed this year, government blames Syria.
Syrian regime estimated to earn over $5 billion per year from narcotics trade.
Jordan and other Arab countries unconvinced Syria is able to crackdown on the drug trade.

He added that Jordan has taken strict measures to police its side of the border and combat drug trafficking, having arrested 24,000 people this year in drug-related cases.

"Every truck that enters the Jaber crossing from Syria is assumed to be carrying drugs unless proven otherwise," al-Faraya said, saying that they inspect every truck that enters the kingdom.

Drug trafficking across the Jordanian Syrian border has increased since mid-2021, with smugglers carrying large quantities of hashish, meth and the amphetamine captagon.

Smugglers use drones, physical transport and even hide drugs in vegetables and fruit on commercial trucks.

Is the regime able to crack down on smuggling?

Jordan has complained that despite trying to normalise relations with the Assad regime – previously a pariah for its brutal crackdown on protesters in the 2011 Syrian uprising– drug trafficking has increased.

Analysts have estimated that the narcotics trade generates over US$5 billion for the Syrian regime – a lifeline for the cash-strapped authority.

Saudi Arabia has reportedly considered offering Syria financial aid of $4 billion to get it to reign in the drug trade, but a deal has yet to materialise.

Jordan is the gateway for Syrian drug traffickers to the Arab Gulf, the primary drug consumption market in the Middle East.

The Interior Minister said that 80 per cent of drugs seized in Jordan were destined for export.

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The Assad regime has been accused of being central to the drug trade, in addition to Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian militias, which are active along the Jordanian-Syrian border.

King Abdullah has previously blamed "militias linked to Iran" for the cross-border smuggling and called for a "change of behaviour by Iran."

Jordan and other Arab countries have publicly linked the issue of drug smuggling with the further normalisation of Syria.

The Assad regime has said it is willing to cooperate with efforts to stop the drug trade, but analysts have cast doubt on whether the regime is willing and even able to reign in drug smuggling groups.