Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Key Naseed-Jaber, Quneitra crossings reopened as Syria reaches out to neighbours

Key Naseed-Jaber, Quneitra crossings reopened as Syria reaches out to neighbours

Its frontier with Turkey is only open into rebel-held areas, and its crossing with Iraq is only open for government or military uses.

The statement comes a few days after the US -led coalition used white phosphorus ammunition while targeting the town of Hajin, one of the few Islamic State (IS)-held areas in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zour province.

Jordan is heavily reliant on imports and foreign aid, much of which used to pass through Syria. Last month, it hiked fees for all trailers transiting through its territories.

Assad's government has been largely isolated by its Arab neighbours since the civil war broke out in 2011.

According to a statement released Monday morning by the state-run Jordan News Agency (Petra), Syrian citizens hoping to enter Jordan via the Naseeb crossing must obtain "prior security approval".

Speculation about Naseeb reopening grew in July, after Syrian pro-government forces-backed by Russian airpower-retook the entirety of Syria's southern Daraa and Quneitra provinces from rebels.

According to an agreement between Jordan and Syria, the traffic of passenger and goods at the border crossing will resume daily from 5am to 1pm.

"This was a crucial artery of trade between Jordan and Syria and transit to other countries", said Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat.

"I now officially announce the opening of the crossing on the Syrian side", a Syrian officer said.

"We look to the interests of both the Syrian and Iraqi people in opening the al-Bukamal crossing", Moualem told reporters at a joint conference with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is visiting Damascus.

Before it was closed, the Quneitra crossing was mostly used by the United Nations force patrolling the buffer zone. Russian military police deployed in the area, including on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, setting up checkpoints in the area.

Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 war. Both countries signed a disengagement agreement in 1974, which led to the establishment of Undof. In eastern Syria, state TV said its broadcast has returned to Deir el-Zour city, seven years after it was halted when armed groups seized control of the area.

Regime forces recaptured the Quneitra area in July. The eastern part is controlled by Kurdish-led, U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which chased Islamic State militants out of there.

A USA -backed Syrian force and a war monitor say members of the Islamic State group have stormed a settlement for displaced people in the country's east and kidnapped scores of civilians.

On Saturday, IS militants stormed a settlement for displaced people in Hajin and abducted scores of civilians.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that monitors Syria's war said as many as 130 families were kidnapped by the extremists, who warned they might kill them.

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