Launching military operations by the Syrian regime forces against the opposition in the southern province of Daraa and other areas along the Jordanian borders will lead to a massive influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan, according to experts.
The Syrian regime is planning to advance into the south of the country after it succeeded in dislodging the rebels from the capital Damascus. Apart from causing massive population displacement, the planned offensive Syrian regime will break the tripartite deal with the US, Russia and Jordan intended to establish a de-escalation zone in the southwestern part of Syria.
Moreover, Syrian regime advances in the South will threaten the security of Jordan.
"Any Syrian regime military actions in Daraa will have serious consequences for Jordan and will increase security threats. It will result in huge numbers of Syrians fleeing the fighting into Jordan," Adeeb Sarayreh, retired Major General and strategic analyst told 7Dnews.
The borders between Jordan and the southern parts of Syria stretch for more than 380 kilometres and are difficult to monitor closely. "The threats of security breaches will increase and there will be the possibility of increased attempts by terrorists to infiltrate Jordan," said Sarayreh. "The Syrian regime claims that the Free Syrian Army and Al Nusra Front, which are located in the southern parts of Syria are supported by the US and Jordan and thus the Syrian government wants to move its forces to the south to reduce pressure," he said.
A government official in Jordan who preferred to remain anonymous told 7Dnews on Monday May 28th, "We are following the developments in the southern parts of Syria and we are ready to protect our interests and national security." Jordan is in direct contact with Russia and the US with regard to the developments in southern Syria. "Jordan wants the de-escalation zone created in the south of Syria to remain," he said.
Fayez Dweiri, a retired major general and military analyst, told 7Dnews that military advance by the Syrian regime overthrew the tripartite deal announced in 2017, which established a ceasefire along the border with the Syrian government forces and associated troops on one side and rebels on the other. The three parties agreed that the ceasefire aimed to permanently de-escalate the tensions in southern Syria, ending acts of hostility, restoring stability and allowing free access for humanitarian aid.
However, Dweiri also warned of the presence of sectarian militia along the Jordanian-Syrian border. "There will also be security threats for Jordan, especially if Iranian militia and Iran-backed Hezbollah fighters take part in the advance. This is something Jordan is doing everything possible to prevent," he said.
Syrian refugees needs in Jordan unmet
Jordan is already home to 1.3 million Syrian refugees, representing some 20% of the population, it will be "hard to prevent more from coming", said Adeeb Sarayreh. Economist Hosam Ayesh said any exodus of Syrians into Jordan will worsen the economic conditions and increase pressure on the entire society. In 2017, Jordan said its total needs to provide aid to Syrian refugees stood at $2.65 billion. By the end of 2017, according to official figures Jordan had received only 64.8% of total needs.
"Jordan is not getting the aid it was promised from the international community to deal with the presence of huge numbers of refugees. Any increase in the numbers will only worsen the situation," Ayesh told 7Dnews. "Unemployment is high, poverty is on the rise, economic growth is low at an average of 2% annually and exports are not improving a cross-border trade with Iraq and Syria, the two major markets for Jordan, is not being optimised." "There will be increased economic challenges if a military advance occurs in the south of Syria and we end up receiving more Syrian refugees," said Ayesh.