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Syria and Jordan in talks to re-open key border crossing

Jordan closed its border with Syria to trade and refugees in 2015 [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 September, 2018

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Syria and Jordan have held first technical talks on opening the border, to allow trade between the two countries to resume.
Syria and Jordan officials held talks this week that could re-establish trade between the two countries, with plans to open a key border crossing as early as this year.

Technical teams from Syria and Jordan held their first meeting since the al-Nassib border crossing closed in 2015, following attacks on Jordanian security forces by militants, Reuters reported.

Jordan - which has suffered financially in recent years - loses around $800 million in lost revenues from the closure of the border.

If the talks are successful, then the border could be re-opened by the end of the year, seeing trade between the two countries flowing once again.

Technical teams discussed practical issues to see the border re-open such as customs and security procedures.

"The meetings will continue to put a complete view of all the arrangements linked to reopening the crossings in the coming period," a source told the agency.

Lebanon has become a key exporter of Syrian produce and products since Jordan closed its border, with Jordanian businesses hit hard since the outbreak of war in Syria in 2011.

Amman has been keen to re-open the border to bring new revenues for the cash-strapped government, which is having to introduce unpopular tax reforms to shore up cash.

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said last month that he was hoping to re-open the border but was waiting for a response from Damascus.

Syrian regime forces re-captured the border crossing earlier this year, which was held by rebel forces, following its offensive on opposition areas in Daraa, southern Syria.

Despite the warming relations, Damascus and Amman differ widely on key regional issues, including the presence of Iranian proxies and troops in Syria - a key backer of the Assad regime.

Bashar al-Assad has been criticised by King Abdullah of Jordan for his brutal suppression of protests in 2011.

Since then, around 600,000 people have died in Syria, mostly from regime bombing and shelling of civilian areas.

Jordan also hosts more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees who have fled fighting and regime bombing since 2011.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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