It is evident that recent Jordanian military operations have taken on a broader scope compared to previous efforts. This development is a response to the Jordanian army’s proactive measures to counter drug trafficking operations originating from Syrian territory towards Jordan. These illicit activities receive direct support from Iran, Hezbollah, and and the Syrian regime, escalating from conventional interventions to include air strikes, armed clashes, and resulting in injuries among soldiers.
This situation prompts an inquiry into Jordan’s stance on the viability of normalizing relations with the Syrian regime. The surge in drug trafficking from areas under Syrian control raises doubts about the effectiveness of the Jordanian initiative to address the Syrian crisis. The initiative, centred on halting the export of Captagon to Jordan and the Arab Gulf countries while curbing Iranian influence in Syria, seems to face challenges. The question arises: Are these military maneuvers by Jordan a reflection of their conviction in the failure of normalization and the initiative, or are they strategic moves solely intended to safeguard national security, irrespective of the Syrian regime’s actions?
Clashes and injuries of soldiers
The artillery barrage occurred shortly after an official military statement from the Jordanian army disclosed armed confrontations between border guard forces and smuggling militias along the Syrian border. These clashes persisted for an extended duration, constituting an attempt to forcefully breach the Kingdom’s borders.
The military source affirmed that the Jordanian army is actively engaged in repelling the armed militias back into Syrian territory. Consequently, several members of the Jordanian border guard forces sustained injuries, ranging from light to moderate conditions.
Over the past few days, there has been a noticeable escalation in the frequency of these operations. What were initially infiltration and smuggling attempts have evolved into full-fledged armed clashes, with the explicit objective of forcibly crossing the border by targeting Jordanian border guard forces.
The source highlighted that these confrontations are part of a sustained series of operations by armed militias, resulting in casualties among smugglers, the apprehension of one individual, and the unfortunate death of a Jordanian forces member with another sustaining injury.
Emphasizing a commitment to national security, the source underscored the armed forces’ vigilance in monitoring the movements of these militias. The military is determined to take all necessary measures to thwart and pursue these groups, ensuring stability and security within the borders of the Kingdom.
Weapons and drugs
The Jordanian Armed Forces Command released photographs and identities of arms and drug smugglers apprehended during clashes on the border with Syria on Monday.
An official military source from the General Command of the Jordanian Armed Forces reported casualties among the smugglers during the confrontations. The source shared images revealing the identities of eight out of the nine arrested smugglers, along with pictures of confiscated weapons and drugs.
The source detailed the quantities of narcotics seized, totaling 4,926,000 Captagon pills and 12,858 units of hashish. These confiscated substances have been promptly handed over to the relevant authorities.
Emphasizing the commitment to security, the source reiterated that the Jordanian armed forces will employ force and determination to address any threats along the border fronts. Any activities aimed at undermining the security of the homeland and instilling fear among its citizens will be met with resolute action.
Jordan’s National Security Threat
This form of military operations and clashes underscores the significant challenges confronting Jordan due to the Syrian regime and the escalating influence of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria. Despite the security measures and military tightening implemented by Amman along the Syrian-Jordanian border, smuggling operations have not only persisted but have also intensified.
A particularly alarming security threat arising from these clashes is the initiation of arms and rocket smuggling operations, underscoring the extent of Iranian pressure on Jordan. Minister of Government Communication and spokesperson for the Jordanian government, Muhannad Mubaydeen, highlighted on Monday that his country is engaged in a cross-border conflict with Syria due to the prevailing lawlessness of power in the region. This is exemplified by the smuggling activities of militias supported by regional powers, involving both drugs and weapons. Mubaydeen emphasized that the target extends beyond Jordan, reaching Arab and Gulf countries.
Speaking to CNN, Mubaydeen referenced the role of Iran-linked militias in recent confrontations on the northern border with Syria. He asserted that Jordan is not merely an isolated target; rather, it is part of a broader regional problem stemming from the activities of these militias, supported by both regional and non-regional powers. Their actions pose a direct threat to the security and stability of Jordan.
Mubaydeen elaborated on the nature of the challenge, stating, “Drug traffickers are not just isolated groups; they are part of a network of smugglers and organized militias backed by regional and non-regional powers, with the aim of destabilizing neighbouring countries through the illicit drug trade.”
On December 14th, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi issued a warning about ongoing attempts to smuggle drugs and weapons across the border from Syria. He emphasized the imperative to “pursue the aggressors against Jordan’s security wherever they are.” The statement underscores the determination of the Jordanian government to address the security threats and protect its borders.
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.