A vital border crossing between Jordan and Syria is set to be reopened, some three years after the crossing was captured by rebel groups. As a result of rebel activity, traffic through the crossing point was stopped.
Additionally, Israel also made the announcement on October 14th that its Quneitra crossing with Syria will be reopened to UN observers on October 15th. This is after the crossing was shut four years ago, also as a result of fighting.
The reopening of the crossings will be a major boost to the Syrian government. The decision comes at a time when the Syrian government is trying to show its residents that the country is slowly emerging from a devastating conflict.
Allowing the crossing point with Jordan to begin functioning again will allow President Bashar al-Assad's government to bring in much-needed relief to the citizens of Syria. An additional benefit from reopening the border is that the Syrian government will once again receive an income from the crossing. This income comes in the form of transit fees imposed upon convoys making use of the crossing point.
The resumption of commercial trade through the crossing will also be a diplomatic victory for Assad. His government has been isolated from neighbouring countries ever since the war began in 2011.
Arab countries joined together and have boycotted the Syrian government since the early days of the war, freezing its membership in the 22-member state Arab League.
Jordan government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat said the Naseeb crossing would be opened on October 15th after operational details were agreed upon. Syria's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar also confirmed the crossing's reopening, according to Syria's state news agency. "The Naseeb crossing is a vital lifeline for trade between the two brotherly countries Jordan and Syria and through them to other Arab countries," Ghunaimat said.
In 2015 rebel forces took control of the crossing, disrupting a major trade route between Syria and Jordan, Lebanon and the oil-rich Gulf countries.
Syrian troops recaptured the crossing point in July this year, after rebels reached an agreement with Russian mediators to end the violence in the southern province of Daraa. The agreement to end the fighting included the surrender of the crossing.
The crossing is also vital for Syria's neighbouring Lebanon, as it provides its agricultural products with a route to foreign markets.
While fighting has begin subsiding across most of Syria, the absence of a political deal means more than 40% of the country remains in the hands of armed opposition groups and their foreign supporters.
On the Israeli side of the border, the military announced the United Nations’ decision to return peacekeepers to the Quneitra crossing area. The crossing will be used exclusively for UN forces, said the Israeli military.
According to AP, Syrian forces recaptured the Quneitra area in July. Russian military police were then deployed to the area, which included the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Russian military police then established checkpoints in the area. Moscow said it planned to work closely with UN forces.