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Jordanian Truckers claim Syria rebels ‘stole their vehicles, cargoes’ on border

By Muath Freij - Apr 02,2015 - Last updated at Apr 02,2015

JABER AL SARHAN — A number of Jordanian truck drivers complained that their goods and trucks were stolen from the Jordanian-Syrian border by people claiming they were members of the so-called Free Syrian Army on Thursday. 

Truck drivers began gathering at the Jaber border crossing waiting for any updates concerning their vehicles or cargoes early morning Thursday. 

A number of security vehicles were seen parking on the way to the duty free zone as a precautionary measure.

Jordan on Wednesday closed its border with Syria for security reasons, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

The agency quoted Interior Minister Hussein Majali as saying that passenger and cargo traffic across the border was halted as a result of escalating violence in the Syrian town of Nasib, near the border crossing.

The decision to close the Jaber border station was primarily taken with the aim of saving the lives of passengers, Majali told Petra.

Mohammad Harahsha, a Jordanian employee at the Jordanian-Syrian Duty Free Zone, said many goods and cars were stolen from the outlet, describing the situation at the border shopping area as “really bad”.

“No one can go into the free zone, including employees, customs officers and merchants. Goods worth millions belonging to Jordanian vendors were stolen,” he told The Jordan Times outside the Jaber crossing.

He noted that many traders in Amman, Mafraq and Irbid will be affected by the looting. 

“Before the closure of the border crossing, around 150 vehicles used to cross daily. The trade traffic was alright,” he added.

Abdo, a Syrian truck driver, said he has been stuck at the Jaber crossing since March 31.  

“When I arrived here, there was nothing happening on the Syrian side, but all started the moment I entered the Jordanian side of the border crossing,” he said as he stood near his truck.

Abdo recounted that there were around 100 trucks inside Jaber crossing with Syrian, Emirati and Kuwaiti number plates. 

Abu Zaid, a Jordanian truck driver, said he came from Amman to the Syrian-Jordanian Free Zone to deliver goods.

“Later, I was surprised that the truck was taken by the Free Syrian Army and they demanded JD10,000 in exchange for the truck or otherwise they would seize it,” he added.

 

War scenes onlookers  

 

Meanwhile, scenes of bombings and air strikes on the Syrian side became a source of attraction for Jaber Al Sarhan residents. 

Qassem Zureigat, a resident of the border village, was sitting Thursday on his house’s roof drinking a cup of tea and watching clouds of smoke rising from the Syrian side, just a short distance across the border.

The 18-year-old Jordanian said watching became his daily pastime activity, as air raids were launched by Syrian regime forces against the rebels this week.

Since Wednesday, the number of air strikes has been on the rise in Nasib, the Syrian borderline town and home of the Syrian side of the border crossing. Rebels took over the area and were battling regime forces there, he added.   

Clouds of smoke following air strikes were clearly seen from the Jordanian village, 15km from the northeastern town of Mafraq.

Qassem’s neighbour Awad Zurigat said this is not the first time that residents of the village have watched the civil war in the northern neighbour, which started following a popular uprising which erupted five years ago. 

Many residents sit on a low hill near a cemetery, chatting with each other and watching what is happening with their neighbours, who are mostly their relatives divided by an imaginary line called border.

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