Jordan army kills drug and weapons smugglers from Syria

Operation comes two days after kingdom's army launched air raids on suspected hideouts of Iran-backed traffickers in Syria

Jordan has seized weapons and other supplies in its campaign against suspected drug smugglers. Photo: Petra News Agency
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Jordan's army said several drug and weapons smugglers who crossed the northern border from Syria have been killed in clashes that began at dawn on Saturday.

The army had earlier said it was pursuing large numbers of smugglers, who had illegally entered the country under cover of heavy fog.

Five of the smugglers were killed, according to an military official quoted by Jordan's Petra news agency.

The army arrested 15 others and seized weapons and narcotics, the official said.

There were no casualties reported among the border guards.

The smuggling attempt comes after Jordan launched air strikes into Syria on Thursday, aimed at suspected warehouses and hideouts of Iranian-backed drug smugglers, Jordanian and regional intelligence sources said.

The army has stepped up a campaign against drug dealers after protracted clashes last month with dozens of heavily armed infiltrators from Syria linked to pro-Iranian militias.

“This continued threat to our national security won't end with a raid or confrontation. It's a long war,” Minister of Government Communications Muhannad Mubaidin told public broadcaster Al Mamlaka.

Jordanian officials, like their western allies, say Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and other pro-Tehran militias who control much of southern Syria are behind a surge in drug and weapons smuggling.

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

War-torn Syria has become the region's main centre in a multi-billion-dollar drug trade, with Jordan a key transit route to the Gulf states for Syrian-made amphetamine Captagon, Western anti-narcotics officials and Washington say.

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.

Updated: January 07, 2024, 7:28 AM