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Border Guards face mounting challenges on northeastern front

By Raed Omari - May 05,2016 - Last updated at May 05,2016

Border Guards help a Syrian family cross the border into Jordan on Wednesday (Photo by Hassan Tamimi)

AMMAN — Jordan's borders with war-hit Syria and Iraq are well-protected and tightly sealed with the Border Guard units ready to deal with any security situation within less than a minute, a senior army officer said on Wednesday.

Brigadier General Saber Mahayrah, commander of the Border Guard, said that troops deployed on the border line with Syria and Iraq, extending along 573 kilometres, change the rules of engagement according to the situation, be it security infiltration or smuggling attempts.

During a press tour to the notheastern borders, Mahayrah said that the Border Guards warned warring parties in Syria, "regardless who they are", to keep a distance of no less than seven kilometres away from the border line with Jordan.

"Any attempt to get closer to us is always faced with our heavy fire," Mahayrah said, adding that sometimes the 7km-buffer is subject to change depending on the type of weapons Syria's warring parties use against each other.

"That is all because we do not want shells falling on the Jordanian land."

Mahayrah also said that the intensified bombardment on Aleppo has pushed thousands of Syrians to seek refuge southwards and eastwards in Syria and from there into Jordan.

He noted that 5,490 Syrians from Aleppo arrived to the Rugban Refugee Camp inside Syria. 

"Although the Rugban camp is in Syria, it is under our eye and we know what is going on in it." 

Mahayrah said that the camp is home to 59,000 Syrians, adding, "The great majority of its inhabitants are normal refugees wishing to enter Jordan but it has warlords and Daesh's eyes, supporters and probably members."

He also explained that the warlords inside the Rugban camp constitute “no security threat as business is their only concern,” adding that the fear is from the Daesh’s many agents in the camp. They are from Raqqa and Palmyra and they are the radical group’s eyes and ears in the camp.

“We are vigilant anyway. All refugees admitted to Jordan undergo heavy check ups to make sure they are ‘clean’.”

 

“Weapons, explosive belts and even drones were found with the refugees.”

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