Jordan said on Monday that pro-Iranian Syrian army units and militias loyal to Tehran are stepping up their efforts to smuggle hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of drugs across the Jordanian border into rich markets in the Gulf.
The military said it was bracing for an escalation in clashes with armed smugglers attempting to drop large quantities of drugs along the rugged border with Syria.
“We are dealing with a war along the borders, a war on drugs and led by organizations supported by foreign parties. These Iranian militias are the most dangerous because they target Jordan’s national security,” senior army spokesman Colonel Mustafa Haiti told state-owned Al Mama.
Jordan said four smugglers were killed by the military on Sunday in the latest clash along the border that has left at least 40 infiltrates dead and hundreds injured since the beginning of the year, mostly nomads serving Iran-affiliated militias. hold sway in southern Syria. †
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Jordan is both a destination and a major transit route to the oil-rich Gulf countries for the cheap Syrian-made amphetamine known as captagon.
War-torn Syria has become the region’s main production site for a multi-billion dollar trade also destined for Europe. The government of Syrian President Bash al-Assad denies involvement in drug making and smuggling.
The surge in smuggling attempts has forced Jordan to change its military forces along the border, where it has empowered its military to use overwhelming force.
Jordanian King Abdul said last week that he feared a Russian withdrawal from southern Syria as a result of the war in Ukraine would allow Iran-backed militias to fill the void.
The growing influence of Iran-backed militias, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah group in southern Syria in recent years, has alarmed both Jordan and Israel.
Jordanian officials say they have raised concerns about the alarming spike with Syrian authorities, but have seen no real effort to curb the illegal trade.
“Our demands have always been for troops to do their job, but until now we have not felt that we have a real partner in protecting the borders,” Brigadier General Ahead Khleifat, chief of border security, told Glad newspaper.
“The smuggling operations are supported by elements within the Syrian army and its security forces, as well as from Hezbollah militias and Iranian militias present in southern Syria.”
Jordan said the seized amounts in the past five months exceeded 20 million Captagon tablets, compared to 14 million in all of last year.
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