Jordan downs drone carrying drugs from Syria: Army statement

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The Jordanian army downed a drone carrying drugs from Syria on Tuesday morning, according to an army statement.

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Army officials said the drone was carrying 500 grams of crystal meth which have been transferred to authorities.

“The Border Guard forces, in coordination with the military security services and the Drug Enforcement Administration, detected an attempt to illegally cross the border from Syrian territory to Jordanian territory by a drone, and it was shot down inside Jordanian territory,” an army source said.

Jordan has blamed pro-Iranian militias, who it says are protected by units within the Syrian army, for smuggling drugs across its borders towards Gulf markets.

Damascus says it is doing its best to curb smuggling and continues to bust smuggler rings in the south. It denies complicity by Iranian-backed militias linked to its army and security forces.

The sharp rise in smuggling attempts has forced Jordan since last year to change army rules of engagement along the border, giving its military the authority to use overwhelming force.

“We are continuing to deal with, resolve and force with any threat to our borders and any attempt to destabilise the security of the nation,” the army said in a statement.

The plane was intercepted and downed on its side of the border, it said.

War-torn Syria has become the region’s main site for a multi-billion-dollar drug trade, with Jordan a main transit route to the Gulf states for Syrian-made amphetamine known as captagon, Western anti-narcotics officials and Washington say.

Jordanian officials say they have raised their concerns with Syrian authorities but have not seen any real attempt to clamp-down on the illicit trade.

With Reuters

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