AMMAN — A Jordanian jihadist surrendered to authorities this week after spending over one month battling regime forces in Syria, Islamist sources said Thursday.
According to the Jordanian jihadist movement, Amman resident Harbi Obeidi turned himself in shortly after crossing over from Syria on Sunday.
Obeidi had returned to the Kingdom to receive urgent medical treatment for gunshot wounds sustained during a battle between Islamist militants and regime forces near the southern Syrian city of Daraa earlier this month, sources say.
“Obeidi was injured while defending innocent Muslim men, women and children against the Godless regime of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and returned home for treatment,” said a source within the jihadist movement, who preferred to remain unnamed.
According to police sources, Obeidi remains in detention.
The 37-year-old engineer had crossed into Syria last month to join the ranks of Jabhat Al Nusra Li Ahl As Sham (the front for supporting the people of Syria), an Al Qaeda-linked coalition of hardline Islamist militants that has been battling Damascus since June, the source added.
According to Mousa Abdullat, the defence lawyer representing the jihadist movement in Jordan, Obeidi’s arrest raises to 22 the total number of Jordanians who have been arrested by authorities for their support for jihad, or holy war, against Damascus.
The jihadist movement actively supports Jordanians to wage jihad against Damascus, claiming that it has facilitated the entry of over 250 fighters into Syria since March.
Security sources say Jordan has more than “doubled” military patrols along the Jordanian-Syrian border in response to the reported rising flow of Jordanian and foreign Islamist fighters, which the government has declared a “direct threat” to Jordan’s national security.
Last month, the government unveiled an alleged Al Qaeda plot targeting several shopping centres and Western diplomatic missions in western Amman using explosives and mortar rockets smuggled from Syria.
Security forces arrested 11 members of the jihadist Salafist movement for allegedly plotting the attack.
The movement’s leaders reject the charges as “fabrications”, stressing that the movement supports only military action on “occupied” Muslim lands outside Jordan such as Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories.