Syrian, Jordanian defence officials hold rare meeting to discuss border security

Syrian, Jordanian defence officials hold rare meeting to discuss border security
The officials held a rare meeting to discuss stability on their mutual border, marking the first such meeting since the Syria war erupted ten years ago.
2 min read
20 September, 2021
Jordan's King Abdullah is a staunch US ally [Getty]

Syria's defence minister visited Jordan on Sunday to discuss border issues, officials said, the first such meeting since the Syria war erupted a decade ago.

The meeting follows a major Iran-backed, Syrian regime offensive on an opposition enclave in the southern Daraa province, leading to a Russian brokered truce.

Jordanian army head Lieutenant General Yousef Hunaiti met Syrian Defence Minister and Chief of Staff Ali Ayyoub over the Deraa situation and to discuss issues such as the fight against "terrorism" and "drug smuggling" in the area, Jordan's army said.

Jordan and Syria cut ties during the start of the Syrian regime's offensive on opposition areas in 2011 but relations have recently started to  improve.

"The talks are within the concern to intensify future coordination overall common issues," a statement from Jordan's army said.

The Syrian regime's elite, Iran-linked Fourth Division had for over two months besieged Daraa Al-Balad, following a rebellion over presidential election results, deemed by most of the world to be unfair.

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Jordan's King Abdullah, a staunch US ally, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on a visit to Moscow in August where he said Russian troops - who had helped reverse the tide of Syria's conflict in Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's favour - had succeeded in "stabilising" the country.

Jordan had for some time supported factions of the mainstream Western-backed rebels who controlled southern Syria.

A campaign by the Syrian regime in 2018 aided by Russian air power and Iranian-backed militias retook the province in 2018.

Thousands of rebels handed over their weapons under surrender deals brokered by Moscow.

Moscow gave guarantees to Israel, Jordan and Washington at the time that it would prevent Iranian-backed militias from expanding their influence in the area that also borders Israel's Golan Heights.

The retaking of Deraa by regime forces earlier this month has brought with it control of several towns and villages that until recently defied regime authority.

The military talks between Syria and Jordan, sources said, also addressed a major spike in drug smuggling in recent months which Jordanian officials say Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah is behind.

Hezbollah denies Western allegations it is behind a multi-billion dollar drug smuggling network that moves from Syria via Jordan to export to the Gulf.