AMMAN — Jordan on Thursday refuted as baseless news reports alleging the arrest of Jordanian security officials in Syria, underlining the Kingdom’s respect for Syria’s sovereignty.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Samih Maaytah dismissed reports published by pro-Syrian news outlets on Thursday claiming that Syrian authorities have arrested a group of “Jordanian agents” outside the restive city of Homs.
“This news is incorrect and has no grounds in reality,” Maaytah told The Jordan Times.
“Jordan does not interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbours and there is no Jordanian presence in Syria.”
Maaytah’s statement came in response to a report published by pro-Syrian Lebanese daily Ath-Thabat carried by multiple state-run Syrian media outlets.
The report quotes an unnamed Syrian security source alleging the recent arrest of a group of Jordanian “intelligence officers and supporters” near Homs with some 200 Jordanian military uniforms in their possession.
The source claimed that the arrest comes amid a growing Jordanian “role” in the Syria crisis, accusing Jordan of hijacking a MiG-21 jet that a Syrian pilot flew to the Kingdom last week and requested political asylum.
The report tied the growing “role” of Jordanian forces in the Syrian crisis with Washington’s desire to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Thursday’s allegations come amid a rise in tensions between Amman and Damascus, which officials privately say has reached an “all-time high” due to Jordan’s granting of political asylum to the rogue Syrian fighter pilot who landed in Mafraq last week.
According to officials, Amman has yet to fulfil Syria’s request to return the aircraft, attributing the delay to “security procedures”.
Despite several previous reports placing the blame of “terrorist attacks” on Jordanian jihadists, Thursday’s report marked the first instance of a pro-Assad news outlet directly targeting the Jordanian government.
Jordan has received over 500 Syrian army defectors since Damascus’ launch of a military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in March 2011.