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Challenges from southern Syria

Feb 19,2017 - Last updated at Feb 19,2017

Jordanian efforts to see a ceasefire implemented in southern Syria are being challenged by several threats, predominately from the growing Hay’at Tahrir Al Sham (Organization for the liberation of the Levant).

Last week, a car bomb in Yadouda, southern Syria, left dozens of dead and injured. 

Some sources reported that a Jordanian terrorist known as “Abu Rayyan Al Ma’ani” conducted the suicide attack in the province of Daraa, near the Jordanian border.

The booby trap car attack was one of several launched by terrorist groups aiming to escalate the situation in the south of the country and create chaos on Syria’s southern border, at a time when Jordan is increasing its efforts to stabilise the border regions by encouraging groups to join the political process.

Jordan’s new role is likely to upset some of groups in Syria, as well as some countries in the region, particularly since Russia has praised Jordan’s contribution to stabilising the area and their coordination in fighting terrorism.

While many analysts have been calling for Jordan to play this role for a while now, it is not too late to reconsider options based on the new developments.

For Jordan’s national security, it is imperative to have a reliable partner on the Syrian side to coordinate security issues.

After the battle of Aleppo, there are few options for Jordan, but it should be seeking to open channels with the main protagonists in Syria, which are Russia and the Syrian Army.

Through solid cooperation, Jordan can achieve strategic gains, but it could also get it in open confrontation with the terrorist groups operating in Syria and its cells everywhere.

In spite of this danger, Jordan’s objectives must be long term, with a focus on future strategic interests.

Jordan will not be alone in this fight, but taking an active role with partners in dealing with the implications of the battle for the south of Syria, and the liberation of Raqqa will put it in a better position to plan and have a strong hand in solving the Syrian refugee problem.

This will be extremely important, given some of the issues in the Rukban refugee camps and the potential threat they pose to Jordan’s security.

Jordan’s new position will increase the chances of reopening the Jordanian-Syrian border, which would address many of the problems related to commercial and economic ties between the two countries.

By playing a major positive role in the south of Syria, Jordan could position itself well in helping rebuild this neighbouring country and that could lead to a revival of the Jordanian economy.

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