Roundup: Jordan, Syria seek to break years-long ice as Jordanian lawmakers visit Damascus

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-20 05:14:39|Editor: yan
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DAMASCUS, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- A delegation of Jordanian parliamentarians visited Syria on Monday, in an attempt to break the ice between the two governments for years.

During the more than seven-year war in Syria, the relations between Jordan and Syria became strained, as the Syrian government accused Jordan of being a backer of the rebels active in southern Syria.

An intelligence operation room run by anti-Syrian government powers was also said to have been created in Jordan to conduct anti-government operations in Syria.

In 2014, Jordan expelled the Syrian ambassador, a move that further deteriorated the diplomatic relations.

However, the progress by the Syrian army over the past two years, particularly its recapture of all southern region this year, has started to shift the positive tide toward the Syrian government.

The military victory of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including the army's capture of the only border crossing of Nasib between Jordan and Syria, has apparently pushed Amman to restore relations with Damascus.

Butros Murjan, a member of the Jordanian delegation, said he hopes "the visit would be a beginning for restoring trust between the two countries," as the visit holds "political dimensions," the pro-government al-Watan newspaper reported.

The delegation visited Syria to convey the word of the Jordanian people, as general opinion in Jordan differs from that of the government there, Murjan noted.

During the meeting between the Jordanian delegation and President Assad, both highlighted the importance of activating the bilateral relations on all levels to achieve the interests of both peoples, state news agency SANA reported.

According to the report, the delegation said the Jordanian people have largely sided with the Syrian people against foreign schemes.

The two countries re-opened the Nasib Border Crossing late in September for the first time in years.

The border crossing was closed in 2015 when the rebels took over the Nasib area and the crossing in the countryside of Daraa Province in southern Syria.

The Syrian army re-captured Daraa and the border crossing in July after the rebels in the province surrendered and agreed to evacuate to northern Syria, mainly the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib.

Ahead of the crisis, the Nasib crossing was the busiest border crossing in Syria as it is situated on the Damascus-Amman international highway.

The crossing is also considered 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 re-opening of the crossing has enabled the Jordanian people to visit Syria after years of war, which is considered the first step for normalizing relations between the two neighbors.