In an article published by the Saudi newspaper Elaph, the writer Ali Hamada drew parallels between the current situation on the Jordanian-Syrian border and the security situation on the Syrian-Turkish border in the late 1990s, which culminated in the signing of the Adana Agreement. This landmark agreement, signed by Turkey and Syria, coincidentally took place in the month of October, marking its twenty-fifth anniversary.
In his article, the writer proposed the idea of implementing a Syrian-Jordanian agreement akin to the Adana Agreement, acknowledging that while the circumstances and reasons may differ, there are compelling similarities between the two cases. He noted that during the late 1990s, Turkey faced a threat to its national security from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants operating from Syrian territory. Similarly, Jordan today contends with threats to its national security, including the smuggling of Captagon, drugs, weapons, and ammunition from Syrian territory.
In the case of Turkey, Ankara accused Hafez al-Assad’s Syria of harbouring and supporting PKK militants, including establishing training camps and bases for them in Syria and Lebanon. In contrast, Jordanian authorities accuse Bashar al-Assad of collaborating with sectarian militias affiliated with the Iranian Quds Force, facilitating drug production, manufacturing Captagon and crystal, and organizing their smuggling, along with weapons and explosives, across the border into Jordan, often with the involvement of criminal gangs.
In both cases, Turkey in 1998 and Jordan in 2023, the respective governments perceived their national security as being under threat.
The Adana Agreement, signed on October 20, 1998, was a result of Egyptian-Iranian mediation. It was initiated after Turkey, alarmed by escalating PKK operations from Syrian territory, mobilized a significant military presence along the border, raising the spectre of a potential invasion of Syrian territory. This agreement marked a pivotal moment in the two countries’ relations and lasted until the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011.
According to the writer, the current crisis and heightened tensions from the Jordanian side, possibly with implicit support from Arab allies and potentially later from the United States, could serve as an impetus for a Jordan-Syria agreement akin to the Adana Agreement. Such an agreement might grant Jordan certain rights, similar to the third item of the Adana Agreement, which allowed Turkey the right to pursue and conduct hot pursuit of PKK forces inside Syrian territory up to a certain depth. This could pave the way for the resolution of the Jordanian-Syrian crisis, potentially involving the mobilization of Jordanian forces along the border and limited military operations inside Syrian territory to target criminal gangs and drug facilities in southern Syria.
This discussion of a potential agreement is not new, as recently retired Jordanian Major General and military strategic analyst, Mamoun Abu Nuwar, had previously predicted a military intervention by Jordan in southern Syria, within the framework of a security agreement similar to the Adana Agreement between the Syrian regime and Turkey. Abu Nuwar stressed that this intervention would be based on tactical military considerations in response to perceived threats to Jordan’s security. He also called on Arab countries and the international community to provide Jordan with necessary weaponry, given the situation’s escalation and its implications for Jordanian and Arab security.
This article was translated and edited 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.