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The threat of sectarian militias

Aug 16,2017 - Last updated at Aug 16,2017

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani has issued a stern warning to all sides over the deployment of any pro-Syrian regime sectarian militias along Jordan's northern border.

The minister cautioned that any presence of sectarian militias would be viewed as a "strategic threat" to Jordan and the entire region.

Let there be no doubt about it; Jordan will not allow any such sectarian militias disguised as part of the Syrian army to have a foothold along its borders. The Kingdom will take the necessary measures if its concerns are confirmed, officials have stressed on several occasions.

It is a well-known fact that no less than 50 per cent of the Syrian army consists of militias, either belonging to Iran or Hizbollah. It is one thing for the regular Syrian army to be deployed along Syria's borders, and quite another to inject among them foreign forces that have their own agendas.

Russia and the US, together with Jordan, brokered a truce along Syria's southern borders as part of a general plan to end hostilities in the country. 

It is now the responsibility of the two superpowers to ensure that the goals of the projected ceasefire remain legitimate, with a clear and straightforward plan. Jordan's concerns are shared by other regional and international powers as well.

All stakeholders, including Moscow and Washington, should remain vigilant about the potential of embedding sectarian fighters into the Syrian regular forces for whatever purpose.

Such a possibility would turn the conflict into a regional one, instead of de-escalating the situation on the ground. The goal is to replicate the successful ceasefire in southern Syria in other conflict areas in the country, a measure that could allow for the gradual return of refugees and the reopening of Syria's borders.

However, if sectarian militias that have nothing to do with the best interests of the Syrian people hijack the de-escalation process and use it to expand their influence, all will be lost.

 

Preventing this is the responsibility of the major international players, Russia and the US. 

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