Tensions on the Syrian-Jordanian border are rising as the conflict in Syria plays out dangerously close to its neighboring country.
The Jordanian border is only 70 kilometers from the Syrian capital Damascus. This explains why Bashar al-Assad’s regime is making sure the area remains tightly secured.
Similarly, Jordanian authorities are keen on stopping the crisis from spilling over into their territory.
Jordanian troops are stationed in a trench at the Jaber crossing, one of two entry points to Syria. They remain ready to face a Syrian army strike at any moment.
The Syrian troops are, in turn, on the alert.
There is a distance of 40 meters between Jordanian and Syrian security checkpoints; a ‘too close for comfort’ situation.
Brigadier General Hassan Zayoud, commander of Jordan’s Border Guard Forces, is adamant that Jordan should protect itself against the burgeoning threat.
“We do not engage in direct combat with the Syrian forces, but any Bedouin would protect any person on his land and would defend himself. Some soldiers got injured in clashes between the Syrian army and the Free Syrian Army and some missiles fell on Jordanian territories.”
He spoke after new information came to light regarding the Syrian regime’s targeting of fleeing refugees near the border.
Jordanian soldiers told Al Arabiya that the Syrian forces have amassed along the border and are using airstrikes to target civilians. According to those refugees, the regime shelled convoys of refugees who were few miles away from reaching the border, causing the death of many.
In addition to fallout from Syrian army and rebel attacks, Jordanian forces face danger from Islamic extremists who are trying to traverse the border to fight in Syria.
Despite rising tensions, Syria’s southern border with Jordan remains relatively calm compared to its northern borders.
According to reports, the Free Syrian army remains focused on fighting in the North closer to the border with Turkey. The northern location facilitates the flow of weapons and ammunition.