AMMAN — Authorities have arrested six jihadists along the northern border over the past 48 hours, officials said on Saturday, amid a reported rise in attempts by Islamic militants to infiltrate Syria.
According to a security source, authorities arrested four citizens on Thursday and two late Friday attempting to illegally enter Syria carrying several “automatic weapons”.
“After an initial investigation, it was revealed that the men were intending to go to Syria to fight alongside jihadists,” a security source stationed in the border region said.
Mousa Abdullat, legal representative of the Jordanian jihadist Salafist movement, confirmed that six members of the hardline Islamist group had been arrested over the weekend, raising to 30 the total number of citizens detained for attempting to wage “holy war” against Damascus.
Late last month, authorities foiled an attempt by five Jordanians to smuggle arms to jihadists in Syria.
“With the Free Syrian Army controlling most of the border, we have an opportunity to overwhelm the Godless regime of Bashar Assad,” said a senior leader of the jihadist movement, who requested anonymity.
“With open borders, true believers from across the world will be coming to defend their Muslim brothers and sisters.”
The jihadist movement claims it has facilitated the entry of some 300 Jordanians into Syria since the beginning of the year.
The vast majority are reportedly fighting alongside Jabhat Al Nusra Li Ahl Al Sham, a coalition of foreign fighters with ties to Al Qaeda, in Daraa, Idlib, Homs and Aleppo.
Jordan has nearly doubled military patrols along its 370-kilomere border with Syria in order to stem the rising influx of local and foreign jihadists.
In October, the government announced that it had foiled an Al Qaeda attack targeting diplomatic sites and shopping centres in Amman using weapons and explosives smuggled from Syria.