Thursday, August 13, 2020


DAMASCUS, Syria, After years of isolation, Syria’s border crossings are under the spotlight again, with some of them reopened, as the Syrian government has regained the upper hand in the more than seven-year-long war.

On Monday, the key Nasib border crossing, between Syria and Jordan was reopened for the first time, since its closure in 2015, when the rebels took control of the town of Nasib, in the southern province of Daraa. The Syrian Army captured Nasib in July, after dislodging the rebels from the southern province of Daraa.

The crossing is the only conduit between Syria and Jordan, and is also considered one of the most important land crossings in the Middle East, as it was the main crossing for exports from Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, to the Gulf states and vice versa. The crossing brings billions of U.S. dollars in trade revenue to Syria, as well as, neighbouring and regional countries.

The Syrian side entered truckloads of 21 tonnes of fruits, as a gift to the economic delegations in Jordan, and in return, the Jordanian side entered a truckload of dates to Syria. Syria has also officially reopened the crossing between the southern province of Quneitra and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Quneitra crossing was the only crossing for the Syrians in the Israel-occupied Golan Heights to enter Syria, but not for the Syrians inside Syria as they are not allowed to enter the Israeli-occupied territory.

Syrian students from Golan Heights had used this crossing ahead of the Syrian crisis to study in Syria, as the government has provided them with exceptional facilitation to seek education in their motherland. Also, marriages had taken place between Syrians in Golan and Quneitra in the past.

As the crossing has been officially reopened, Golan students are expected to visit Syria through Quneitra, after they had gone through long trips through Jordan to come to Syria by planes.

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has also returned to the disengagement zone after leaving it in 2014, as the separation line between the Bravo gate on the Syrian side and the Alpha gate on the Israeli side is an activity zone for the UNDOF.

The rebels withdrew from Quneitra in July this year, after the Russians reached a deal with the Israeli side for restoring the situation in Quneitra to the pre-Syrian wartime and reviving the treaty of 1974 that ended the Yom Kippur war and designated the lines of separation between Israel and Syria.

Khaled Abaza, secretary of Syria’s Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party’s branch in Quneitra, said that “the reopening of this crossing is reviving the lifeline between our people who are under occupation and on their homeland. This crossing is a lifeline for university students and also farmers who want to sell harvest and marketing it in Syria,” he said.

Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Muallem and the visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, said that the border crossings between Iraq and Syria should be opened soon, after the major defeat of the Daesh in both countries. Al-Jaafari said, there is no reason not to open the border crossings between both countries, saying, efforts are being exerted to reopen them as soon as possible.

For his part, Muallem said, the terror groups were controlling the crossings, accusing the countries backing them of standing against the opening of the crossings. He also noted, “we hope that the crossing between the Syrian city of Abu Kamal and Iraq would be reopened soon.”

Expectations for reopening the border points came, as the Syrian army has cleared large swathes of border areas between Syria and Iraq from the presence of the Daesh.

The border crossing that would be reopened is the al-Qa’im, which is located in the southeast of Syria’s eastern province of Deir al-Zour in the city of Abu Kamal. The Al-Qa’im crossing is considered as one of the major supply routes across the Middle East, which connects the town of Abu Kamal in Syria’s Deir al-Zour, to the city of Husaybah in the Al-Qa’im District of Iraq’s Anbar Governorate.