Jordan is waging an “undeclared war” against smugglers trying to pass drugs from Syria into its territory at a time when there’s been talk about Amman’s reluctance and threats. The normalization steps that began months ago between the two countries are slowly diminishing.
Since the beginning of 2022, the Jordanian army has killed 30 smugglers, while foiling an attempt to smuggle 16 million Captagon pills, Jordanian Colonel Zaid al-Dabas said during a border tour on Thursday. “The most dangerous thing we have noticed recently is the presence of armed groups alongside smugglers.”
He told AFP that these groups “have new tactics such as those for organized crime” and use “sophisticated vehicles, as well as drones”.
Another senior officer, Colonel Mustafa al-Hiyari, warned that “anyone who tries to smuggle drugs into Jordan will die.” He announced on Friday that they seized 17,348 packages of hashish and more than 16 million Captagon pills – compared with 15.5 million in 2021 and 1.4 million pills in 2020.
Amman does not explicitly accuse the Assad regime or its militias of being behind the smuggling operations, which have taken a significantly escalating trend, following Jordanian steps toward normalizing relations with Assad.
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However, Jordanian journalists and military personnel have hinted in articles published in the past two days that operations are backed by “influential parties” in the Assad regime. This statement mainly refers to Assad’s involvement.
Who’s behind it?
The deputy editor-in-chief of Jordan’s al-Dustour newspaper, Awni al-Daoud, published an article on Saturday entitled: “A real war with millions. Who’s behind it? “.
“It’s no longer just gangs and individuals sneaking around to smuggle a few narcotic pills or a little hashish,” Daoud says. “Or any kind of drug, it is a war that has recently resulted in the killing of 30 infiltrators, the martyrdom of a hero of our armed forces, and the injury of others.”
“This is a war in which our armed forces were able to seize 17,348 thousand hashish bags and more than 16 million narcotic pills. “This is a war that has revealed the existence of almost 160 networks operating deep within Syria.”
“They are very large and growing parties, with evidence of the discovery of some 160 networks so far. They are cooperating with armed groups to carry out their operations, and they have sophisticated military mechanisms, including drones,” he said.
“The battle is not just a war against drug traffickers, because the enemy (drug cartels and those behind them) is targeting the security and stability of the country,” he said.
Questions and answers
Meanwhile, former Jordanian intelligence brigadier General Omar al-Raddad published an article on Jordan’s Ammon news agency, in which he said, “The conflict of power centers in Syria, among military and security leaders, including conflicts with Iran and Russia, appears to be behind targeting Jordan.”
This article was edited and translated by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.