Syria’s Defense Minister and Chief of Staff Ali Ayyoub visited Jordan on Sunday to negotiate stability on their mutual border, the first such meeting since the Syrian dispute erupted a decade ago when the two neighbors supported opposing factions, officials said.
The meeting follows a major army offensive to retake the last rebel bastion in southern Syria, and after reestablishing control this month over Deraa, a city south of Damascus, in a Russian brokered deal that averted an all-out military assault led by Iranian-backed units of the army.
Jordanian army head Lieutenant General Yousef Hunaiti met Ali Ayyoub over the Deraa situation and to discuss issues such as the fight against terrorism and drug smuggling in the area, Jordan’s army said.
“The talks are within the concern to intensify future coordination over all common issues,” a statement from Jordan’s army said.
The Syrian army’s pro-Iranian elite Fourth Division had for over two months besieged the area where the first peaceful protests against authoritarian rule broke out in 2011 before security forces cracked down and unrest developed into civil war.
Jordan’s King Abdullah, a staunch U.S. ally, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on a visit to Moscow in August where he said Russian troops who helped reverse the tide of Syria’s conflict in Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s favour, had succeeded in stabilizing the country.
Jordan had for years supported mainstream Western-backed rebels who controlled southern Syria until a campaign by the Syrian army in 2018 aided by Russian air power and Iranian-backed militias retook the province.
Thousands of rebels, who once received arms and support funnelled through Jordan, handed over their weapons under surrender deals brokered by Moscow.