The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Syrian desert | Russian-backed fifth corps stationed at regime posts near 55-kilometre zone

Russian-backed Fifth Corps forces have been stationed in military posts of the regime forces in a 55-kilometre zone, while members of the regime forces have withdrawn from those positions.

According to Syrian Observatory sources, these new movements came under Russian orders after increasing drug smuggling in the area.

On March 4, SOHR activists reported that Jaish Maghawer Al-Thawra, which is supported by the “International Coalition”, arrested a large group of drug dealers, while they were returning from Jordan near the borders with the 55-kilometre zone towards Syrian territory.

According to SOHR reliable sources, the detained group is confirmed to belong to Abo Hamza “G.K.”, who entered Jordan through regime-held areas taking advantage of the bad weather.

Jaish Maghawer Al-Thawra announced that they would keep blocking those who intend to affect the security of the area and to deal forcefully to prevent smuggling and trading of drugs.

On February 23, SOHR activists reported that members of Air Force Intelligence and regime-backed soldiers ordered the heads of border checkpoints“Al-Hajana” with Jordan, to evacuate their posts for hours, while two police stations near Khibrat Matota area in Al-Suwaydaa countryside were completely empty of members, in light of preparing an ambush for fighters believed to be of ISIS cells.

On the same aspect, clashes with heavy and medium weapons took place between smugglers and Jordanian army early morning, near Khibrat Matota in the eastern Al-Suwaydaa countryside.

These developments coincided with launching “Hawk Strike” exercise by Jordanian force, using ammunition to confront terrorists and smugglers. It is worth noting that the Jordanian king participated in the exercise.
On February 17, very reliable sources told SOHR that two cars carrying drugs and weapons managed to cross the Syria-Jordan border into Jordanian territory in the mid of last week.

According to SOHR sources, three pickup vehicles were prepared and loaded with illicit pills, weapons and ammunition in the area of Khabrat Makhtutah in Al-Suwaidaa countryside. The smugglers took advantage of the heavy fogs on the border areas and coordinated with other individuals in Jordan to sneak in two vehicles into Jordanian territory, while the smugglers of the third vehicle clashed with the Jordanian Border Guards and headed into Syrian territory, attempting to distract them from the two other vehicles which managed to cross into Jordan.
During clashes with the third vehicle, Jordanian Border Guards stopped at the line separating Syrian territory from Jordan and opened heavy fire indiscriminately.

Meanwhile, the Jordanian “Desert Forces” responsible for guarding the Jordanian border conducted frequent patrols all over the day.