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Jordan, Syria reopen border crossing

October 15, 2018 at 10:19 am

The Nassib crossing, the border crossing between Jordan and Syria [Twitter]

The border crossing between Jordan and Syria officially opened to civilians and trade this morning three years after it was closed.

The Nassib crossing opened an 8am (0500 GMT), a border official at the Jaber checkpoint on the Jordanian side told Reuters. However by 11:15am, no traffic had been seen at the border other than one Syrian businessman and a group of Jordanian traders who crossed to the Syrian side.

Jordanian state news agency Petra reported early today that Jordan and Syria had agreed to open the border to all in a change from an earlier statement that normal traffic would not be allowed until a later date.

“We are fully ready to receive passengers and transport of goods,” Imad Riyalat, head of the Jaber crossing, told Reuters. “We expect the traffic to be slow now at the start, but in coming days we expect passenger movement to pick up.”

Read: 2 Syria babies die in besieged refugee camp on Jordan border

The Syrian government retook the area around the Nassib border crossing with Jordan in July during a Russian-backed offensive to drive opposition groups from their stronghold in southwest Syria. The civil war in Syria began more than seven years ago.

The closure of the Nassib crossing in 2015 cut a crucial transit route for hundreds of trucks a day transporting goods between Turkey and the Gulf, and Lebanon and the Gulf, in multi-billion dollar annual trade.

Since then, Syria’s only normally operating frontier crossing has been with Lebanon, which itself has no other functioning land borders.

“A Jordanian citizen may leave for Syria in their own car or as a regular passenger. Jordanian cargo is also allowed to leave for Syria according to the Jordanian-Syrian agreement,” Petra reported today.

Petra said Syrians entering Jordan must first obtain security clearance from Jordanian authorities, as has been the case since the war broke out.

Read: There is no specific date to re-open Syria borders says Jordan