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Ex-parliament president among 8,000 Jordanians wanted by Syria security

Former Jordanian Parliament President Abdul Latif Arabiyat [Twitter]
Former Jordanian Parliament President Abdul Latif Arabiyat [Twitter]

Some 8,845 Jordanians are wanted by Syria’s intelligence agency, including former Jordanian Parliament President Abdul Latif Arabiyat, Syrian opposition news outlet Zaman Al-Wasl has reported.

Arabiyaat, noted as a prominent figure in the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, is allegedly one of the 1.5 million people listed on a database of individuals sought by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Whilst the reason for his arrest warrant has not been stated, the Syrian government has cracked down on thousands of people suspected of supporting opposition groups during the seven-year conflict.

The leaked archive that was published earlier this year contains over a million Syrian security documents and arrest warrants; the wanted people include 250,000 women and some children.

Zaman Al-Wasl chose to release the names of the wanted Jordanians this week after an Amman resident was arrested at the newly opened Nassib border crossing between the two states.

On Monday, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it was working for the immediate release of Yaqoub Aqrabawi who is being held at the Justice Palace in Damascus. His mother, who had been detained with him, was returned to Amman by authorities earlier this week.

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The news of Aqrabawi’s arrest caused concern among Jordanians, with some warning fellow citizens to not risk travelling across the border.

“For the first time, a Jordanian citizen has been arrested on Syrian borders … the man was going for ‘tourism’ with his family and he got arrested in front of his mother! So far, no clear reason for his arrest. In fact, you don’t need a reason to get arrested in Syria. Dear Jordanians, your life is worth more than a tomato box,” one Jordanian tweeted.

The Assad government has tried to assuage fears, with Syrian Chargé D’Affaires in Jordan Ayman Alloush calling the blacklist “a work of fantasy”, emphasising that Syria would never address issues of security with “brotherly Jordan” in such a manner.

The Nassib border was officially reopened after four years last month; the Syrian government retook the area around the crossing with Jordan in July during a Russian-backed offensive to drive opposition groups from their stronghold in southwest Syria.

border crossing between Jordan and Syria

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

The opening was met with praise, given the crossing’s status as a crucial transit route for hundreds of trucks a day, that transport goods between Turkey and the Gulf, and Lebanon and the Gulf, in a multi-billion dollar annual trade.

The opening of the crossing is a “signal of the return of stability to Syria and the failure of the efforts to divide the country,” army Brigadier Mazen Younes told reporters at the time.

However, the Syrian government has continued to besiege the Al-Rukban refugee camp which lies along the demilitarized area between Jordan and Syria, prompting serious concern over the fate of the 75,000 displaced people residing in the area. Aid trucks reached the area for the second this year earlier this week, after several people, including infants, died from starvation and a lack of healthcare.

Whilst hundreds have been driven back into Syria due to the looming humanitarian crisis in the camp over the past few months, many have refused the offer due to fear of arrest and torture by the regime upon their return.

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