Jordan launches strikes against Iran-linked drug smugglers in Syria

Suspected home of a dealer and drug stores are hit in Suweida province

Jordanian soldiers patrol near the border with Syria. The military has expanded its campaign against smugglers. AP
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Jordan on Thursday launched air strikes on suspected warehouses and hideouts of Iran-backed drug smugglers in Syria, intelligence sources said.

The military has expanded a campaign against smugglers from Syria after protracted clashes last month with dozens linked to pro-Iran militias who crossed the border with large hauls of drugs, weapons and explosives.

The sources said Jordanian military jets bombed the suspected home of a known drug dealer in the Syrian town of Shaab, with another strike hitting warehouses near the village of Al Ghariyah. Both places are in Suweida province, near the border with Jordan.

Ryan Marouf, editor of Syrian news website Suwayda 24, said smoke rose from the border area after the strikes.

"The first strike targeted a leading drug dealer linked to Iranian militias and the other raid bombed a farm where drugs are stored," he said.

Jordanian officials, like their western allies, have said Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group and pro-Tehran militias in southern Syria are behind a surge in drug and weapons smuggling in the region.

Iran and Hezbollah say the allegations are part of western plots. Syria denies complicity with Iran-backed militias linked to its army and security forces.

Jordan has been promised more US military aid to improve border security. Washington has given the kingdom about $1 billion to establish border posts since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, Jordanian officials said.

UN experts and US and European officials said the illicit drug trade helps to fund Iran-backed militias and pro-government paramilitary forces in Syria.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 5:06 AM