Jordanian and Iranian Foreign Ministers meet after soldier killed at border with Syria

Jordanian Army say soldier was killed in attack on his unit by large group of smugglers

A Jordanian border patrol near Syria. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Iran on Wednesday that the kingdom will "take all necessary steps" to protect its national security, official media said.

Mr Safadi was talking to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian a day after infiltrators smuggling drugs from Syria killed a Jordanian border guard.

A war against drug smugglers, who Jordan says are linked to the Syrian military and pro-Iranian militias in southern Syria, intensified in recent weeks, with the authorities in Amman reporting increased intrusion attempts.

The latest casualty on the Jordanian side was Iyad Al Naimi, a corporal who the military says was killed in an attack on his northern border unit on Tuesday by “dozens of infiltrators” who tried to cross under the cover of fog.

"Those responsible for the attack on Jordan's security … will not escape punishment and will pay for their aggression and crime," official media quoted Mr Safadi telling Mr Amirabdollahian.

The two met on the sideline of the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva.

Mr Safadi said Jordan "will take all necessary steps to stop the continuation of this threat to its national security, including hitting at and pursuing the criminals … wherever they are."

Jordanian security forces closely monitor the northern part of the country to curb the trade in Captagon and other drugs, which are made mainly in Syria and Lebanon.

The border with Syria has become the main conduit for the trade since Syrian government forces retook the area from rebels in 2018 after a deal between Russia, the US and Israel.

After the incident, army commander Brig Gen Yousef Al Huneiti visited the area and told troops that the military would hit “with an iron fist … whoever tries to undermine the security of the homeland”.

On Wednesday, the army said its border guards foiled another attempt to smuggle narcotics from Syria, despite “the weather conditions and the rugged terrain”.

Rapid response units fired at the smugglers and seized 119,000 Captagon pills and 1,748 pouches of hashish, the military said. No casualties were reported.

Captagon constitutes the core of drug smuggling from areas in southern Syria under military control into Jordan.

The Jordanian army said last week that its border forces had killed three drug smugglers who had been trying to infiltrate the kingdom from Syria carrying more than 230,000 Captagon pills.

Much of the Captagon is then smuggled out of the kingdom into the Arabian Peninsula.

Updated: December 13, 2023, 8:48 PM