In the al-Tanf border region, situated between Jordan and Iraq, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has taken a proactive stance to curb illicit activities, particularly drug trafficking, within its borders and towards Jordan.
A commanding officer within the FSA, in an exclusive interview with Syria TV, revealed that the army has intensified its border patrols along the strip adjoining Jordan and Iraq with the primary objective of curbing both drug and arms smuggling.
Reliable insider information obtained by Syria TV affirms that the army has successfully thwarted three attempts to smuggle drugs. These smuggling endeavours were orchestrated by militias associated with Iran and the Syrian regime, marking a notable achievement in the early months of 2024.
Coordination with Jordan to control borders
Commander Mohammed Farid al-Qassem of the FSA has previously disclosed the army’s strategic preparations to assert control over the Jordanian border, coupled with heightened surveillance measures aimed at curtailing drug smuggling.
In a statement provided to Syria TV, Qassem acknowledged the anticipated nature of clashes along the Jordanian-Syrian border, attributing them to the escalating presence and activities of Iranian militias in the region. He emphasized the army’s readiness to manage its borders, specifically within the 55-zone, and expressed the intent to bolster patrols, especially during adverse weather conditions such as foggy days and dust waves.
Addressing the issue of coordination with the Jordanian side, Qassem indicated that while there is an initial stage of coordination, efforts are underway to enhance and develop the collaboration. He expressed hope for a positive response from the Jordanian side as they seek to strengthen bilateral cooperation in border security.
Clashes on Syrian-Jordanian border
In recent times, clashes and movements along the border have escalated, driven by the Jordanian army’s vigorous efforts to halt drug smuggling operations originating from Syrian territory. These operations have received direct support from Iran, Hezbollah, and the Syrian regime, resulting in air strikes, armed confrontations, and injuries among soldiers.
In the late months of 2023 and the early days of 2024, the Syrian-Jordanian border witnessed unprecedented incidents and intense clashes between the Jordanian army and networks engaged in smuggling drugs and weapons towards Jordan.
Jordanian military aircraft conducted airstrikes on locations identified by Amman as sites of drug smugglers within Syria. In the course of these border clashes, Jordanian authorities reported that five smugglers were killed, and 15 others were apprehended in a single operation. The situation reflects the gravity of the ongoing struggle to counter illicit activities along the border.
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.