Israel and Jordan reopen key border crossings with Syria

Israel and Jordan reopen key border crossings with Syria

Damascus and Amman agreed to re-open the Nassib Border Crossing, three months after the Syrian army took control of it.

Israeli-Druze bride Arin Safadi, 24, departs through the United Nations buffer zone at the Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967, to marry a Syrian-Druze groom, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008.

The Quneitra crossing was previously used by the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), made up of around 1,000 peacekeepers patrolling the 1974 ceasefire line there.

The UN force returned to the area after Syrian government forces, backed by Russian Federation, succeeded in recapturing territory near the Golan Heights and driving out armed militant groups from a "de-escalation zone".

In addition to Quneitra, Jordanian officials announced a day earlier the reopening of Naseeb crossing, Jordan's main border crossing with Syria, after a three-year closure due to the presence of foreign-backed terrorists. Rebels seized the crossing in 2015, disrupting a major trade route between Syria and Jordan, Lebanon and oil-rich Gulf countries.

Reopening the crossing with Jordan would bring major relief to President Bashar Assad's government by restoring a much-needed gateway for Syrian exports to Arab countries.

The militants are now besieged in the small pocket in Syria. The return of the 1,000 some troops was made possible after Syrian government troops retook the Syrian side of the crossing in July, as part of a deal with rebel fighters brokered by Russian Federation.

Elnashra Lebanese news website had quoted a Syrian source as saying that "No agreement has been reached with the Lebanese side on all details related to the transit of trucks from Lebanon to Jordan through the Nassib border crossing". It also reinforces the Syrian government's message that it is slowly emerging victorious from the seven-year conflict.

The resumption of commercial trade through the crossing will also be a diplomatic victory for Assad, whose regime has been isolated from its Arab neighbors since the war began in 2011.

The crossing is also vital for Syria's neighboring Lebanon, providing its agricultural products a route to foreign markets.

UNDOF had withdrawn from the area in 2014 when Al-Qaeda-linked rebels overran the area. "If these data is confirmed, the United States must be held accountable for this", Kondratyev said.

"The border between Israel and Syria was very calm before the start of the Syrian civil war and the return to normal is very convenient for Israel", he told AFP. "You are hungry and thirsty, surrender to the Syrian Democratic Forces and you will be treated humanely".



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