‘Thousands’ of Jordanians stranded in Syria as crossing remains closed

(Photo: Jordan News)

AMMAN — A lawmaker on Wednesday said that thousands of Jordanians, especially from the border town of Ramtha, were stuck in Syria awaiting the reopening of the Jaber border crossing.اضافة اعلان

Representative of Al-Ramtha district Abdul Salam Thiabat put the number at 10,000 at least, including shuttle taxi drivers, ordinary citizens visiting relatives and tourists, noting that from his district alone, 5,000 were not able to come back through the same outlet. 

However, he said, a good percentage of this figure crossed into Lebanon or flew back home through Cairo after a flare-up of hostilities broke out in Daraa between Syrian regime forces and opposition factions. The latter, according to reports, blocked the Amman-Damascus international highway, prompting Jordanian authorities to close the outlet completely, pending the return of normalcy across the border. 

Raed Abdul-Aal, a ferrying tradesman, told Jordan News over the phone from Syria that he crossed the border last Wednesday, a day before the renewed fighting in Daraa area just across the borderline. “I called my family to send me ticket money so that I can fly to Egypt. That would cost my family JD255 for the ticket and $110 for the PCR tests”. 

Khaled Qasem, another “sailor,” said the money he earned from his petty trade was spent on air tickets. 

A source at the Ministry of Interior, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that families of the people trapped in the Syrian side had sent many appeals to the Minister of Interior Mazen Al-Faraya. The minister was contacted to confirm the reports, but he was not available for comment. 

A source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Jordanian embassy in Damascus will offer aid to Jordanians trapped in Syria, according to Al-Ghad report earlier Wednesday, stopping short of detailing the numbers of those in Syria or their conditions.

In a related development, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Wednesday that freight traffic was resumed, after a three-day closure.

Head of the Syndicate of Owners of Clearance and Cargo Transport Companies, Dhaifallah Abu Aqoula confirmed he was officially informed that incoming and outgoing freight traffic at Jaber border crossing has been approved.

An official source at the Ministry of Interior announced the “temporary” closure of the Jaber border crossing with Syria last Saturday because of the security situation on the Syrian side of the border, according to Al-Ghad.

The source said that the crossing will be reopened "as soon as the appropriate conditions are available."