Jordan Coordinates with Israel, Beefs Up Border with Syria
Jordan has begun to beef up its border with Syria, sending hundreds of thousands of troops, artillery and armored vehicles to the north, a senior Jordanian security source says.
The Hashemite Kingdom is coordinating its military moves with the State of Israel, according to a report published Monday in Lebanon’s Daily Star.
Amman is also relaying messages between Jerusalem and the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabi, in anticipation that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime may soon fall.
The Syrian village of As-Safira – home to one of at least five chemical weapons storage facilities – has become the latest battleground between Assad loyalist troops and opposition forces, the pan-Arab Al-Arabiya news network reported Sunday. At least 30 people were killed Sunday in fierce fighting between the two forces in the village, located just south of Aleppo, the country’s northern commercial hub.
Thousands of soldiers, hundreds of armored vehicles, and dozens of tanks and artillery batteries are being deployed along Jordan’s northern border, according to a senior Jordanian security source quoted Monday by Israeli news daily Yisrael HaYom. The forces are protecting the area just above the site where tens of thousands of Syria refugees are encamped in United Nations-provided tents.
Some 200,000 Syrians so far have crossed the southern border of their homeland to safety in Jordan, despite the difficult conditions they knew they would face, living in refugee camps in Jordan’s northern desert.
Syrian refugees are still pouring across the border, arriving daily to receive aid and rations at Al-Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria. The United Nations on Friday urged Syria's neighbors to keep open their borders to civilians fleeing the intensifying conflict. U.N. officials and said that the refugee exodus into Jordan was "absolutely dramatic". More than 30,000 Syrians have arrived in Jordan's main Za'atri camp since January 1, including 4,400 on Thursday and another 2,000 overnight, according to the U.N. agency. Most were fleeing fighting in the southern area of Dera'a, where food and fuel shortages, high prices and the danger to life itself has forced families to abandon their homes.
Syria's revolution -- the civil war from which it sprang -- began in Dera'a, where a young teen scrawled a slogan on a wall inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings that were sweeping through the region in March 2011. Government forces immediately took the teen into custody and tortured him, igniting protests that spread like wildfire through the country, and to which the government responded with arrests, torture and eventually murder. Thus blossomed Syria's savage civil war, in a manner not unlike that which overthrew the 41-year reign of former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, and which has sent that country tumbling into a power struggle between the rebel factions who fought for freedom, and terror groups who joined the war -- among them the international Al Qaeda organization.
Just a couple of months ago, 13 radical Islamist factions banded together and separated from the general opposition forces to declare Aleppo and “independent Islamic state.” As in Libya, number of the factions were linked to the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization.