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Syrian army hoists national flag on Quneitra crossing

18 October, 2018, 06:57 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Re-opening of Naseeb Jaber crossing will be a major diplomatic victory for Syria's government

Jordan on Monday reopened its main border crossing with war-torn Syria, a key Middle East trade route, after a three year closure, an AFP photographer reported.

The strategic Naseeb crossing between Syria and Jordan on the Damascus-Amman global highway was reopened Monday, just one day after both countries agreed to it.

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. Russian military police deployed in the area, including on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, setting up checkpoints in the area.

Technical teams from the two countries met on the Jordanian side on Sunday and agreed on the final arrangements to open the crossing from October 15, said Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat.

Syrian forces recaptured both the Quneitra and Daraa areas in July. Ryan, of the coalition, said he could not confirm whether SDF fighters were taken.

The crossing, which was mostly used by the Druze population in the Golan Heights, was closed in 2014 by the IDF after rebels groups and al-Qaeda militants took over the town of old Quneitra.

SANA news agency said the reopening of the crossing would ensure communication with Syrian people in Golan, facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid and crossing of students along the border.

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Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the United Nations forces took up positions on the Israeli side and redeployed to headquarters on the Syrian side.

The Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is a part of Syria that was captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in 1981 in a move that was not internationally recognized.

Amman is concerned about the expanding influence of Tehran-backed militias in southern Syria, diplomats say. The 22-member Arab League froze Syria's membership shortly after the war began, imposing sanctions the cutting diplomatic ties.

According to a statement released Monday morning by the state-run Jordan News Agency (Petra), Syrian citizens hoping to enter Jordan via the Naseeb crossing must obtain "prior security approval".

Regime forces recaptured the Quneitra area in July. But IS has lost most of its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq over the last two years. Syria's economy has been devastated by more than seven years of conflict and Jordan faces its own economic crisis. Syria State TV showed the Syrian flag raised at the crossing which has been closed for four years because of the fighting.

Last September, Syrian government forces managed to enter Deir Ezzor city, breaking an Daesh siege of almost three years on government-held parts of the provincial capital.

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