NewsJordan ramps up military action against Syrian drug smugglers tied to Iran

Jordan ramps up military action against Syrian drug smugglers tied to Iran

Jordanian F-16
Jordanian F-16
Images source: © Getty Images | Salah Malkawi
8:54 AM EST, January 9, 2024

Jordanian jets launched four raids on Syrian territory on Tuesday, aiming for suspected farms and hideouts of drug smugglers with ties to Iran, as reported by Reuters. This was the second raid of its kind within just one week.

Three of these attacks targeted top-tier drug dealers in the towns of Shaab and Arman in the Sweida province, situated near the Jordanian-Syrian border - Reuters reports, citing the Syrian portal Suwayda 24 and its sources. The fourth attack was carried out on a farm near the village of Malah. Last Thursday, Jordan also launched raids in the Sweida province. Officials suspect that this region is hosting most of the cross-border smuggling operations. The Suwayda 24 portal, based on local sources, has circulated unconfirmed reports of three deaths, including that of a notable local drug dealer.

The Jordanian army has stepped up its efforts following clashes in December with dozens of individuals linked to pro-Iranian militias, who were transporting significant quantities of weapons and explosives over the border from Syria - again, as per Reuters reports. The Jordanians hold Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian groups responsible for escalating smuggling. They control a substantial portion of southern Syria. Both Iran and Hezbollah have dismissed these accusations as a Western conspiracy.

The illegal drug trade allegedly provides funds for pro-Iranian militias and pro-government paramilitary forces in Syria. These claims are made by UN experts, along with American and European officials. In response, the United States has assured Jordan of military aid to enhance security. Since the outbreak of conflict in Syria in 2011, about one billion dollars have already been designated for the establishment of border posts, as confirmed by Jordanian officials.

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