AMMAN: Jordan̵7;s army said on Friday that units on the country’s eastern border shot down a drone carrying weapons parts from Syria.
An army statement said border guards, in coordination with other security agencies, spotted the drone and shot it down along the Jordanian border.
The army said the drone was carrying weapons parts, adding that it would “continue to deal with any threat to our borders, and any attempt to destabilize the country’s security and terrorize its people”. “
It was the second drone shot down by the Jordanian army in a week.
On 14 June, it shot down a drone carrying highly addictive crystal methamphetamine drugs from Syria to the northern region of Jordan.
A security source who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Syrian drug smugglers are resorting to drones because “they know that all of their mass smuggling operations will be thwarted by the military.”
The source said: “They know helicopters and other heavy weapons will follow them, even inside Syria. They know the rules of engagement have changed. No more warning shots but killing.”
Asked where smugglers obtain drones and other advanced technologies, the source declined to identify either side, but said smugglers are mostly “ordinary farmers”. We also know them by name. States or highly organized groups are probably the sources of such sophisticated technology.”
Jordan has always blamed Iran and its proxies in Syria for smuggling drugs across its borders to lucrative markets in the Gulf.
It has stepped up its fight against illegal drug trafficking from Syria, with the army announcing changes to its rules of engagement along its northeastern border with Syria, which stretches for nearly 400 km.
In January last year, the army said it had killed 27 infiltrators trying to smuggle a “large amount” of narcotics into Jordan from Syria.
The operation followed a directive from the army chief to change the rules of engagement.
Jordan carried out rare airstrikes on Syria’s southern Daraa province in May that are believed by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to have targeted an abandoned drug facility linked to the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Days after the attacks, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah denied his Shiite group’s involvement in any illegal drug activity in Syria, but acknowledged that it smuggled weapons.
According to a report by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hezbollah has expanded its drug-trafficking operations, which now generate more money than its other funding streams combined.
The think tank said the group’s global drug trade began in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in the 1970s, using well-established smuggling routes along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Syria is said to have become the world’s leading narco-state and the center of the multi-billion dollar drug trade.
It has agreed with Jordan and Iraq to stop drug trafficking across its borders and identify those who produce and transport narcotics.
The pledge came at a historic meeting of the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan in Amman on 1 May which was also attended by Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.
A final statement after the meeting said Damascus had agreed to “take the necessary steps to end trafficking along the borders with Jordan and Iraq” and identified those producing and transporting narcotics in both countries.
Syrian news outlets reported raids by the Syrian army on drug dealers in Daraa following an airstrike on the southern province in May, but said no one was arrested because “all the dealers were killed by Captagon kingpin Marhi al-Ramthan”. were hidden after.”
Al-Ramathan, a reputed Syrian drug lord, was killed in a Jordanian airstrike at his home in the village of Shuaib in Sweida Governorate.
Jordanian and Syrian news websites have published reports of Jordanian forces sending SMS messages to Syrian drug kingpins warning them to surrender or face the same fate as al-Ramathan.
Jordan’s military said 361 smuggling attempts from Syria were foiled in 2021 and some 15.5 million drug pills were seized.
Last year, in 2020, more than 130 smuggling attempts from Syria were foiled and approximately 132 million amphetamine tablets and 15,000 sheets of hashish were seized.