Russian patrols protect Syrian security rather than tackle drug smuggling — experts

4. Razan Abdelhadi (North Press Agency)
An undated photo of Russian soldiers stationed in Syria. (Photo: North Press Agency)
AMMAN — Earlier this month, Russian forces started patrolling the Syria-Jordan border, starting from the Nassib crossing, south of Daraa, all the way to the Syrian border Guard post 107, near the town of Khazma, southeast of Al-Suwaida, in an attempt to curb the smuggling of narcotic substances.اضافة اعلان

Security and military experts Jordan News spoke to say that the move is not likely to limit the phenomenon, which has become a worrisome scourge despite Jordan’s efforts to address it.

Retired air force colonel and military expert Mamoun Abu Nuwar does not believe that “there will be any change” in a situation that “has been going on for a long time.”

According to him, “this procedure is routine”, but “will not be useful in protecting the Jordanian border and eliminating the scourge of drugs.”

It is only “our valiant forces, the Arab Army, that are capable of protecting the borders with high efficiency”, he said.

He added that Syria has become “the capital of drugs and must be confronted”, stressing that Jordan exert’s great effort in this matter.

Still, “due to the complexity of this matter, Jordan must be helped and supported, especially since drug smugglers started using new techniques and resorting to new means, and there are no longer feasible solutions” that could help eliminate drug smuggling, he pointed out.

Security expert Bashir Al-Daja told Jordan News that “the goal of military patrols is not to fight smugglers, but rather to enforce security in southern Syria where armed gangs threaten Syrian security, not Jordanian security.”

Daja said that “unfortunately, the process of drug smuggling is carried out by military factions affiliated with the Syrian armed forces, which facilitate the flow of drugs toward Jordan.”

“If the Russian forces want to solve the drug problem, they must eliminate the farms and factories and where drugs are grown and manufactured, and sent by military factions and smugglers toward Jordan,” he said, stressing that “this must be fought on Syrian territory and not on the Syrian border”.

Retired police Brig. Gen. Hashem Al-Majali told Jordan News that “these patrols could either reduce the scourge of drug smuggling or increase it”.

By way of explanation, he said that “drug dealers have money, and if this money can buy power (the Russian patrols), it will be a very dangerous thing. If so, then the matter will be more complicated and difficult, especially since they have very modern technology.”

“However, if the Russian decision to conduct patrols is the result of an understanding between the Jordanian Armed Forces and the Russian armed forces, this may actually limit drug smuggling and may also lead to a complete prevention of drug smuggling,” he added.

Majali also believes that “the attack that we are facing is organized and fierce, and some militias and parties may be behind it.”

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