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Jordan accuses Syria and Iran of orchestrating 'drugs war' along border

A Jordanian colonel said that drug trafficking is supported by 'uncontrolled groups' within Syria's Border Force and pro-Iranian groups
A Jordanian soldier patrols the Syrian border, 17 February 2022 (AFP)

A Jordanian military spokesperson accused Syria and Iran of sponsoring drug gangs operating in the country, adding that Jordanian forces are combating a "drugs war" on the northern borders.

Mustafa al-Hiyari, a Jordanian colonel and director of military media in the army, told the state-owned Al Mamlaka TV on Monday that drug trafficking to Jordan is supported by "uncontrolled groups" within the Syrian Border Force and pro-Iranian groups.

"These are organised operations," Hiyari told Al Mamlaka, adding that since 2020, authorities had witnessed an increase in drug trafficking activities from Syria, amounting to hundreds of millions of US dollars worth of illegal drugs entering Jordan

"We are facing a war along the borders, a drugs war led by organisations supported by foreign parties. These Iranian militias are the most dangerous because they target Jordan's national security," Hiyari said.

According to Hiyari, drug traffickers are well organised and operate in three to four groups, each formed of 10 to 20 people along the Jordanian-Syrian borders. They are tasked with watching the borders, distracting the Jordanian forces and smuggling the drugs.

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On Sunday, Jordan announced that it had killed four drug smugglers. Since January, 40 infiltrators were killed by Jordanians and hundreds were injured along its northern border with Syria, during anti-trafficking operations.

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Hiyari told Al Mamlaka that some drug traffickers who were captured were not aware of being involved in smuggling and were found under the influence of drugs. 

He warned that Jordan is becoming both a destination and a transit route to Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, as the profits of drug smuggling had increased ten fold in the past few years.

"Now smuggling targets Jordanian society, the Jordanian family, relationships, and the values ​​of members of the Jordanian society," he said, warning that smuggling carried out by Iranian militias "are more dangerous because they conspire with foreign agendas, and target Jordan's national security."

Jordan and Israel have been alarmed by the growing influence of pro-Iranian militias in southern Syria.

Last week, Jordan's King Abdullah said that he feared a Russian withdrawal from southern Syria due to the Ukraine war would allow Iran-backed militias to fill the void.

The Syrian government has been adamant in denying any involvement in producing the Syrian-made cheap amphetamine known as captagon. 

Jordan said the amounts confiscated in the last five months exceeded 20 million captagon tablets compared with 14 million for the whole of last year.

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