Air strike targets Syrian farm on border with Jordan

There were no reported casualties from raid on the drug corridor in the south of Suwaida

Damage from a reported air strike on August 31, 2023 on a Syrian farm, which is situated in a drug trafficking zone near the border with Jordan. Photo: Suwayda24
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A Syrian farm situated in a drug trafficking corridor near the border with Jordan came under an air strike on Thursday with no apparent casualties, the Suwayda24 network of Syrian citizen journalists reported.

It was the second such attack in the mostly Druze governorate of Suweida since a drug dealer wanted by Jordan and several of his children were reportedly killed by an air strike on May 20.

The area is the scene of a drug war between Jordanian troops and smugglers based in territories in southern Syria, which are controlled by regular forces loyal to President Bashar Al Assad, and pro-Iranian militias.

However, Rayyan Maarouf, a researcher at Suwayda24, told The National that unlike the strike in May, there appears to be no evidence linking the farm to the drug trade.

He said the farm, which is well-established and known to residents, could have been hit unintentionally.

He based his assessment on testimonies by the farm's owner and some of the dozens of labourers at the facility.

The farm is situated among wheat fields about five kilometres form the Jordanian border. It contains hangers and a herd of cattle.

"It is a dangerous area where drug trafficking is continuous," Mr Maarouf said.

There was no comment from the Jordanian authorities, nor Damascus.

On Tuesday, the Jordanian chief of staff said the army is determined to stop the smuggling of drugs and other contraband into the kingdom, during a visit to a border unit.

Maj Gen Yousef Al Huneiti's visit to the Third Royal Border Guards battalion came days after the military intercepted the third drone flown from Syria in a month.

The battalion is in charge of a section of Jordan's border with Saudi Arabia, widely regarded as the most lucrative market for Syrian sourced drugs, particularly the amphetamine pills known as Captagon.

On Thursday, anti-Assad demonstrations continued in Suweida for the 12th day running, driven by deterioration of living standards and lawlessness exasperated by the drug smuggling.

Jordan has accused the Syrian military and the pro-Iranian militias of supervising the drug trade, which Arab officials say is a multibillion dollar a year business.

In a televised interview this month, Mr Al Assad denied that the drug smuggling had anything to do with the state. He blamed the narcotics trade on neighbouring countries that "sowed chaos" in Syria, without naming those states.

Updated: August 31, 2023, 2:34 PM