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Drug Smuggling From Syria Into Jordan Surges

This week has seen an increase in drug smuggling attempts from Syria into Jordan, killing one Jordanian soldier in the process.

Jordan has faced a surge in drug smuggling attempts on its northern border with Syria, Jordanian authorities reported on Thursday, announcing they captured hundreds of thousands of amphetamine pills in a thwarted operation.

Jordanian border forces stopped a group of drug smugglers which was carrying 446,000 pills of the amphetamine captagon, 1,439 bricks of Hashish and weapons.

The 370-kilometer Jordanian-Syria border has become a focal point for drug smugglers since the breakout of the Syrian civil war in 2011, as Jordan is a transit point for the lucrative Arab Gulf market.

Smuggling attempts have increased this week in particular, as rainy and foggy conditions encouraged drug mules to try to cross Jordan’s border.

On Tuesday, dozens of smugglers tried to cross the border from Syria, firing at Jordanian border guards, killing one and injuring another in the process. Several drug runners were also killed, while others were able to escape back into Syria.

In a statement, the army said that it was committed to “firmly and decisively [countering] any attempts at the border to infiltrate or smuggle.”

The Syrian regime, as well as Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias in southern Syria, are alleged to be the manufacturing and export of narcotics out of the country. The Syrian regime and Hezbollah deny the allegation.

The drug trade is lucrative, with some estimates putting the value of the export of drugs out of the country at around $5 billion.

Jordan and Arab Gulf countries have put pressure on Syria to reign in the drug trade, with little to show for it.

In May, regional powers signalled they were willing to re-integrate Syrian president Bashar al-Assad back into the global fold after he was made an international pariah in 2012 for his bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters.

However, both Saudi Arabia and Jordan said his return was in part conditioned on the Syrian regime taking serious steps to combat drug smuggling out of the country.

The Syrian regime has made statements indicating they are working to stop the drug trade, but neighbouring Jordan has said that it has yet to see a reduction in smuggling attempts along its border.

Source : The New Arab