On September 19th, Syrian Defense Minister and Chief of Staff Ali Ayyoub visited Jordan for the first time in 10 years.
Ayyoub met with Jordanian army head Lieutenant General Yousef Hunaiti.
Syrian state TV said the visit came at the invitation of Jordan’s army commander, adding that Ayoub was accompanied by top army officers. It said the talks focused on “fighting terrorism and border control.”
The two discussed stability on their mutual border, after the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) entered Dara’a city and nearby towns after a settlement with the former rebels in the region.
The recent push by Syrian troops in the country’s south is the biggest since government forces captured wide areas along the border in 2018, including the Nassib border crossing.
The crossing with Jordan was reopened in 2018, months after it fell under Syrian government control. Syrian rebels had seized the site in 2015, severing a lifeline for the government in Damascus and disrupting a major trade route linking Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the oil-rich Gulf countries.
“The talks are within the concern to intensify future coordination over all common issues,” a statement from Jordan’s army said.
The SAA’s elite Fourth Division had for over two months besieged the area where the first peaceful protests against authoritarian rule broke out in 2011 before security forces cracked down and unrest developed into civil war.
Jordan’s King Abdullah, a staunch U.S. ally, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on a visit to Moscow in August where he said Russian troops who helped reverse the tide of Syria’s conflict in Syrian President Bashar Assad’s favor, had succeeded in stabilizing the country.
Thousands of rebels, who once received arms and support funneled through Jordan, handed over their weapons under surrender deals brokered by Moscow.
Moscow gave guarantees to Israel, Jordan and Washington at the time that it would prevent Iranian-backed militias from expanding their influence in the area.
The retaking of Dara’a by SAA earlier in September has brought with it control of several towns and villages that until recently defied state authority.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah has also consolidated its presence in Quneitra, a province that borders Dara’a to the west along Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The military talks between Syria and Jordan, sources said, also addressed a major spike in drug smuggling in recent months which Jordanian officials say Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah is behind.
Hezbollah completely denies these allegations.
Earlier this month, ministers from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt said after meeting in Amman that Egyptian natural gas should reach Lebanon through Jordan and Syria as soon as next month, after maintenance of pipelines and the review of a deal interrupted 10 years ago.
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