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Drug trafficking remains high as JAF reports increased drug busts on north-eastern borders

By JT - Dec 19,2023 - Last updated at Dec 19,2023

The Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) said that recent days have seen an increase in the number of infiltration attempts from Syria (JAF file)

AMMAN — The army has reported several drug smuggling attempts on the Kingdom's northeastern borders with conflict-torn Syria, with the most recent one on Monday, which saw smugglers opening fire at border guards in an attempt to enter the Kingdom "by force".

A source from the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) said that recent days have seen a "dramatic" increase in the number of infiltration attempts with operations transforming from "smuggling attempts to armed engagement with border guards".

The source said that clashes on Monday were part of a series of infiltration attempts by armed groups from Syria, which resulted in the killing of a number of smugglers and also the death of a Jordanian border guard and the injury of another. 

Sergeant First Class Iyad Nuaimi, a member of JAF died last week in the line of duty during clashes with smugglers on the northeastern borders.

The army unveiled the largest operation in January 2022 when it announced that it had killed 27 infiltrators as they tried to smuggle “large amounts” of narcotics from Syria into the Kingdom. The army said that the operation in late January came after the directives of the JAF chairman to change the rules of engagement. 

According to JAF figures, a total of 194 smuggling and infiltration attempts have been recorded during the January-August period of 2023.

The army said that border guards on the north-eastern border with Syria have also dealt with 88 smuggling attempts using drones that carried narcotics and explosives.

In 2022, the army said that it dealt with 383 smuggling and infiltration attempts that also resulted in the seizure of large quantities of narcotics and weapons.

JAF said that 361 smuggling attempts from Syria were foiled and about 15.5 million narcotic pills were seized in 2021.

In the previous year, more than 130 smuggling attempts from Syria in 2020 were foiled and about 132 million amphetamine pills and 15,000 sheets of hashish seized, it said.

During a meeting in Amman on May 1, Syria agreed to take effective measures towards curbing drug trafficking across its southern borders with Jordan. 

The pledge came at a meeting in Amman of foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, also attended by Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. 

A final statement after the meeting said that Syria agreed to take the necessary steps to end smuggling on the borders with Jordan and Iraq and identify who was producing and transporting narcotics into those two countries.

Jordan, which shares a 378 kilometre-long border with Syria, has been warning of flourishing drugs trade in the northern neighbour, posing cross-border threats to the kingdom, the region, and the rest of the world.

According to studies conducted by international think tanks, Syria has transformed into the world's foremost narco-state, especially in manufacturing Captagon. 

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