AMMAN — A Jordanian jihadist has been killed in southern Syria, to Islamist sources, as the government reportedly increased security along the northern border to curb the rising flow of Islamist militants.
The local jihadist movement said 37-year-old Amad Natour was killed by gunfire early Saturday while fighting alongside Islamist militants in the southern city of Daraa.
The Irbid resident’s death raises to 15 the number of Jordanian nationals killed while waging jihad, or holy war, against Damascus.
“Our brother Amad was martyred while defending Muslims against the Godless regime of Bashar Assad — he is a model for all true believers,” said Abu Mohammad Tahawi, head of the hardline Islamist movement’s northern branch.
According to Tahawi, Natour had spent the past two months fighting alongside Jabhat Al Nusra Li Ahl As Sham (the front for supporting the people of Syria) — an Al Qaeda-linked coalition of Arab jihadists that have been staging attacks against Damascus since June.
Meanwhile, security sources said Jordan has increased security along its border with Syria to stem the growing flow of Islamist militants into the northern neighbour, “doubling” the number of military patrols in the area.
According to an army source stationed in the northern region, the Kingdom has dispatched additional military convoys to cut off various smuggling routes that have facilitated the entry into Syria of “tens” of Jordanian and foreign jihadists per day.
Jordan has made shoring up its borders with Syria an urgent priority, with officials saying that the influx of jihadist fighters into Syria represented a “direct threat” to the country’s national security.
Last month, authorities uncovered an alleged Al Qaeda plot targeting shopping centres and diplomatic missions in west Amman using weapons and explosives smuggled from Syria, arresting 11 members of the local jihadist movement, which refuted the charges, claiming that those arrested had no connection with Al Qaeda.
Rather than target Jordan’s security, the group claimed it intended only to “defend the Syrian people”, having allegedly dispatched some 250 fighters to Daraa, Homs and Aleppo.