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Jordan foils Syria arms smuggling attempt

By Taylor Luck - Nov 28,2012 - Last updated at Nov 28,2012

AMMAN — Police announced on Wednesday the arrest of five Jordanians suspected of attempting to smuggle a large cache of weapons into neighbouring Syria.

In a press statement on Wednesday, the Public Security Department announced the arrest of five citizens in the border village of Turra allegedly plotting to smuggle weapons across the border into Syria.

Working on a tip that a group of armed men (suspected initially to be Syrians) were hiding out in a safe house in the northern village, police seized the group late Tuesday with large amounts of semi-automatic firearms in their possession.

According to a security source, initial investigation revealed that the cache of firearms were destined for jihadist fighters in Daraa, where Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra Li Ahl Al Sham (the front for supporting the people of Syria) have been battling Syrian regime forces for over three months.

“Due to information gathered from their mobile phones and computers, it was clear that these men were either supporting or attempting to join jihadist fighters in Syria,” said the source, who is stationed in the border region.

The source could neither confirm nor deny whether the men had any links to Jordan’s jihadist movement, which has allegedly facilitated the entry of 250 Jordanian fighters into Syria.

In its statement, police officials revealed that one of the men was previously sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts in 2007 before being released earlier this year on a special pardon.

The flow of Jordanian and foreign nationals into Syria to wage a “holy war” on Damascus has become an emerging security concern for Jordan, with Amman doubling military patrols along the border region in recent months.

Jordan has vowed to maintain secure borders with Syria, claiming that the flow of fighters and weapons poses a “direct threat” to Jordanian national security.

Authorities unveiled in October an alleged foiled Al Qaeda plot targetting diplomatic missions and shopping centres in west Amman using weapons and explosives smuggled from Syria.

The Jordanian jihadist movement claims between 250-300 Jordanians are currently fighting alongside a coalition of Islamist militants in Syria, with 15 confirmed Jordanian jihadists killed in Syria since the beginning of the year.

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