Jordan-Syria crossing to reopen

Arturo Kim
October 18, 2018

The Quneitra border crossing between Israel and Syria was reopened on Monday after it was closed for more than four years because of the civil war in Syria, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The Syrian army has raised the national flag over Quneitra crossing on the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after almost five years since it was taken over by militant groups.

Reopening the crossing with Jordan would bring major relief to President Bashar Assad's government by restoring a much-needed gateway for Syrian exports to Arab countries.

The crossing brings billions of USA dollars in trade revenue to Syria as well as neighboring and regional countries.

Arab media also reported United Nations peace-keepers officially took control of the Quneitra crossing between Israel and Syria, as well.

Resumption of trade at the crossing would likely include "back to back transfers", whereby Syrian and Jordanian traders would trade within a border area between the two countries rather than via direct shipments transiting through the border zone, a Western diplomatic source told Syria Direct on Monday.

Syrian troops recaptured it in July this year after rebels reached an agreement with Russian mediators to end the violence in the southern province of Daraa and surrender the crossing.

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Both ministers did not say when the crossings will be reopened but said it should not take long.

As the Syrian national anthem blasted from loudspeakers at the sole crossing between Syria and the Golan, 58-year-old Taweel couldn't hide his excitement.

Regime forces recaptured the Quneitra area in July.

"We are now witnessing the early fruits of victory", Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said at a press conference in Damascus.

The Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is a part of Syria that was captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in 1981 in a move that was not internationally recognized.

Lebanese government sources confirmed to Arab News that it "will not coordinate with the Syrian government in any way regarding the transit of Lebanese trucks through this (Nassib) border toward the Gulf States".

State news agency SANA said the Syrian side entered truckloads of 21 tons of fruits as a gift to the economic delegations in Jordan and in return, the Jordanian side entered a truckload of dates to Syria. Last month, the coalition denied using the substance in Syria after the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation issued a report of airstrikes carried out using the internationally-prohibited weapons by US F-15 fighter jets on September 8. In eastern Syria, state TV said its broadcast has returned to Deir el-Zour city, seven years after it was halted when armed groups seized control of the area.

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