Jordan is planning to invade Syria’s southern region in order to establish a 35-kilometer “safe zone”, Syrian lawyer and opposition activist Suleiman al-Qarfan said in an interview with the Horan Free League that was published on July 4.
Al-Qarfan told the news blog that a meeting to discuss the plot was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) less than a month ago. The meeting was reportedly attended by a number of former rebel commanders from Daraa, including Kinan al-Aid who was assassinated in the governorate on July 3.
“During the meeting, they discussed the danger of the Iranian presence on the Jordanian side, Russia’s preoccupation with its war in Ukraine, and its reflection on Arab countries in general and Jordan in particular,” the activist said.
Al-Qarfan went on to claim that a decision to establish a “safe-zone” in southern Syria was taken by Jordan, the UAE Saudi Arabia and Egypt, adding that the decision was “blessed” by both the US and Israel who want to counter Iran’s influence in the region.
Jordan has been complaining about an increase in drug trafficking operations along its border with Syria for a few months now. In order to address the issue, the Jordanian military has been maintaining a large presence along the border line.
Furthermore, King Abdullah II of Jordan talked recently about a decrease in Russian military presence in southern Syria, noting that this led to more activities by Iranian-backed forces in the region.
Al-Qarfan speculated that the Damascus government won’t resist a Jordanian invasion of southern Syria as it will continue to run the Nassib border crossing with Jordan.
Syrian government forces recaptured all of southern Syria in 2018 following military operation that ended with a Russian-brokered reconciliation agreement. Back then, Jordan and even the US facilitated the agreement by pressuring rebel factions in Daraa and al-Qunaitra to surrender.
While the claims made by al-Qarfan seems unrealistic for the current situation in Syria, similar plots to establish a “safe zone” in the country’s southern region were discussed in the past by the US and its Arab allies.