Russian and Syrian medics are seen at the Nasib border crossing between Syria and Jordan in the southern province of Daraa, Syria, on Aug. 14, 2018. The recently captured Nasib border crossing between Syria and Jordan is ready to receive Syrian refugees' return from Jordan, state news agency SANA reported Tuesday. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)
DAMASCUS, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The recently captured Nasib border crossing between Syria and Jordan is ready to receive Syrian refugees' return from Jordan, state news agency SANA reported Tuesday.
The report said the Nasib crossing, which was captured by the Syrian army from the rebels in July in the southern province of Daraa, is ready to receive hundreds of Syrian refugees from Jordan, which hosts 1.4 million Syrian refugees.
The report did not reveal further details about the possible opening of the crossing for trade between the two countries.
The pro-government al-Watan newspaper said Thursday that the first meeting between a delegation of Jordanian economists and a Syrian delegation headed by Minister of Internal Trade Abdullah Al-Gharbi took place in Damascus last week aimed at re-establishing economic relations between both countries and the quick opening of Nasib crossing.
The paper added the meeting was a part of the countdown for the re-opening of the crossing.
The crossing is the only official border point with Jordan and it was closed off since the rebels captured it in 2015.
Ahead of the crisis, the crossing was the busiest border crossing in Syria as it is situated on the Damascus-Amman international highway.
It is also considered as one of the most important land crossings in the Middle East as it was the main crossing for Syrian exports to Jordan and the Gulf countries.
The point is especially important to Jordan as the country is now suffering from economic difficulties, which led to the eruption of protests in June and government sackings.
When the crossing was close in 2015, Jordan has suffered from big losses as 70 percent of the country's exports and imports were through Syria, according to Nabil Ruman, head of the Investors Board of the Jordanian Free Zone.
Reports also said that losses of the Jordanian transportation sector resulting from the border closure is estimated at around half a billion U.S. dollars.
But for now, the Syrian side has declared the opening of the crossing for the return of refugees, which could be a prelude of opening for other purposes.
The declaration came as the Syrian government is encouraging the return of Syrian refugees after the situation has become better.
A day earlier, tens of refugees returned from Lebanon to Syria, while the governor of Rif Damascus Governorate told Xinhua that over 25,000 Syrian refugees have returned to Syria within the past four months.
A day earlier, Head of the Coordination Agency for the Return of Displaced Syrians Hussein Makhlouf said that the return of displaced Syrians to the country is a priority for the government, noting that the doors are open for all Syrians to return safely, according to SANA.
Makhlouf said the government is working to facilitate the return of refugees and provide them with accommodation through programs to improve their living conditions.
The minister said the government is working to rehabilitate areas that have been recaptured by the army, adding that these efforts have already resulted in the return of more than 3 million internally-displaced citizens to their homes in the northern provinces of Aleppo, Raqqa countryside, the eastern Deir Al-Zour, the capital Damascus countryside, Homs, and Latakia.
Makhlouf asserted that Syrians abroad can return safely, and what applies to Syrians inside the country applies to those abroad, noting that Syrians are currently returning via border crossings as individuals or groups.
For his part, Faisal Mekdad, the deputy foreign minister in charge of the files of the refugees, said Monday that the Syrian government will facilitate the return of displaced Syrians in coordination with the UN.
He said that both the government and the UN agree that this return must be voluntary and preserve the dignity of the returnees.
It is also worth mentioning that the Russian side, Syrian government's key ally, is backing and supervising the return of Syrian refugees.