Jordan to Establish a Buffer Zone on Its Border with Syria

Jordan has taken decisive action to combat the scourge of drug smuggling from Syria into its territory. The country has announced plans to create a security buffer zone along its northern border. Notably, Jordan has been cautious not to directly implicate the Syrian regime, even though it is widely known that President Bashar Assad's brother oversees the drug production and smuggling operations into Jordan.

Despite the recent improvement in relations between Jordan and Syria over the past year, King Abdullah of Jordan’s patience is wearing thin.

Senior Jordanian officials have indicated that he is considering ordering the Jordanian army to establish a security buffer zone along the Syria-Jordan border.

At the end of the week, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi declared Jordan’s intention to “defeat the drug smugglers” by any necessary military means, signaling a firm stance against this illegal activity.

In recent days, the Jordanian army intercepted a drone carrying a significant quantity of the expensive and dangerous drug known as “Crystal” from Syrian territory into Jordan.

This marks the sixth such interception by the Jordanian army in recent times.

Despite pressure from Jordan, drug smugglers, who receive support from the Syrian regime, Hezbollah, and Iran, continue their activities with impunity.

The Jordanian army has focused its efforts against drug smuggling primarily in the north of the kingdom, near the town of Daraa on the Syrian side.

In recent days, the Jordanian army even conducted operations within Syrian territory, targeting two drug production workshops.

Jordan is in the process of forming a dedicated task force to combat drug smugglers. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi has communicated to his Syrian counterpart, Faisal al-Miqdad, that tackling drug smugglers is now Jordan’s top security priority.

Tensions along Jordan’s northern border are escalating, prompting Jordan to maintain close contact with both the American and Russian administrations.

Russia has military forces in southern Syria, and Jordan keeps these nations updated on developments in the war against drug smuggling.

Jordan continues to tread carefully when it comes to blaming the Syrian authorities directly, even though it is widely acknowledged that the Syrian regime, in collaboration with Hezbollah and Iranian elements, is involved in drug smuggling.

Syria has become a significant producer and distributor of the Captagon drug in the Middle East. General Maher Al-Assad, the brother of the Syrian president, oversees the smuggling network.

He serves as the commander of Division 4 in the Syrian army and is often likened to the Syrian “Pablo Escobar” due to his association with the drug trade.

According to American sources, the production facilities for the Captagon drug fall under the control and protection of Syrian Division 4.

In recent years, Syria has evolved from being a transit point for drug shipments to becoming the primary producer of Captagon, particularly since the severe economic crisis that began in 2013. By 2018, it had become the largest producer of the drug in the region.

In terms of the drug trade, Jordan plays a pivotal role as a transit point. Its northern territory serves as a gateway for drugs destined for Gulf countries and Far East destinations.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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