The Syrian-Jordanian border crossing at Nassib (File)
Jordan has pushed back the Assad regime’s claim that a key border crossing will soon reopen, saying more talks are needed amid Syria’s 91-month conflict.
The Nassib crossing was shut in 2015 after rebels took much of southern Syria. It had been a route for billions of dollars in annual trade, with hundreds of trucks moved goods each day between Turkey, Lebanon, and the Gulf States.
A pro-Assad offensive, enabled by Russian airstrikes, captured opposition areas in the south in July. On September 29, the Assad regime said trade through Nassib had begun, retracting the statement after Amman denied an agreement on resumption.
At the end of September, pro-regime media said the reopening of Nassib was imminent.
But on Tuesday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said technical committees between the two countries which began talks in the middle of September were still working out the practical arrangements.
“The border will open after the technical committees end all the necessary arrangements and measures needed to guarantee opening the borders serves the common interests of the two countries,” Safadi said after talks with his Lebanese counterpart.
But Joranian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Tuesday that technical committees, which began talks in mid-September, are still working out arrangements.
“The border will open after the technical committees end all the necessary arrangements and measures needed to guarantee opening the borders serves the common interests of the two countries,” Safadi said after talks with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil.
“Western diplomatic sources” claimed Jordan is resisting Russian pressure, as the reopening would allow Bashar al-Assad to claim the war is ending — even though the opposition still holds much of northwest Syria and US-backed Kurdish factions control the northeast.
Assad regime officials had again declared that they had revived the crossing, which is ready to receive Syrian refugees. Bassil asked Safadi for a quick reopening, telling reporters, “There is big hope that Nassib opens soon so that traffic goes back to its former strength.”
Lebanon’s Economy Minister said in July that Nassib is “a vital artery” for for millions of dollars of exports of fresh produce to the Gulf.