BEIRUT (AP) — An airstrike believed to have been carried out by Jordan’s air force struck a province in southern Syria late on Monday night, Syrian opposition activists said. Hours earlier, Jordanian authorities said their troops killed several smugglers in a border clash.
There was no immediate confirmation from Jordan on the strike that hit the province of Sweida, a known route for drug smuggling from war-torn Syria to its southern neighbor.
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Smugglers have used Jordan as a corridor over the past years to smuggle highly addictive Captagon amphetamines out of Syria, mainly to oil-rick Arab Gulf states. Jordanian authorities have managed to stop several smuggling attempts, including some in which smugglers used drones to fly the drugs over the border.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said Monday’s airstrike targeted the area of Salkhad and killed a well-known drug dealer in the region. It said the strike was most likely carried out by Jordan’s air force but did not elaborate.
Earlier Monday, Jordan’s state news agency said the country’s border guards killed and wounded several smugglers along the border with Syria. It added that nine smugglers were detained and that troops seized nearly five million pills of Captagon, as well as an unspecified amount of cannabis.
The Captagon industry has been a huge concern for Jordan, as well as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries as hundreds of millions of pills have been smuggled over the years. The drug is used recreationally and by people with physically demanding jobs to keep them alert.
In late August, an airstrike hit an alleged drug factory in southern Syria near the Jordanian border, an attack believed to have been carried out by Jordan’s air force. In May, another airstrike on a village in Sweida killed a well-known Syrian drug kingpin and his family. Activists believe that strike was conducted by the Jordanians.
Jordan has so far not claimed responsibility for any of the strikes.
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