A Jordanian security chief said on Tuesday that his country’s relations with Syria were moving forward, as Amman had to take a “realistic approach towards its northern neighbour over a number of pressing issues.
“Jordan is dealing with the Syrian crisis as a fait accompli, and we did not interfere in its internal affairs as it is a neighbouring country,” the Director of General Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Ahmed Hosni Hatouqay, said during a meeting with local journalists.
“But let’s be realistic, we have Syrian refugees, and on the Jordanian-Syrian borders there are groups that must be dealt with in order to preserve security and stability of the Kingdom, as well as putting an end to the smuggling of weapons and drugs.”
Jordan fully reopened its main border crossing with Syria last week. It had been repeatedly closed over the years because of the Syrian war and Covid-19. The countries share a 375 km frontier.
Hatouqay stressed that the kingdom had largely distanced itself from the ten-year Syrian conflict, warning that in northeast Syria there was still a presence of “terrorist organisations seeking to target the region’s security.”
The intelligence chief added that security coordination between both countries had helped maintain relative calm along the Syrian-Jordanian border, stressing the importance of finding a political solution to the conflict.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II received a call on Sunday from Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, the first conversation between the two leaders after a decade of strain over Syria’s civil war.
The Jordanian royal court said the leaders discussed relations between the “brotherly countries and ways to enhance cooperation between them.”
In August, the king discussed “normalising the situation in Syria” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has backed Al-Assad’s regime since 2015.