11/26/2018, 09.01
JORDAN-SYRIA
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Jordanians applaud Syrian President Bashar Assad (Video)

by Pierre Balanian

Parades of cars with photos of Abdallah and Assad. Relations between the two countries are growing after the closure of the crossings. The market for Syrian products in Jordan and tourists from both countries is increasing. A thousand Syrian refugees have returned to their homeland. Jordan is home to around one million refugees from the Syrian war.

Amman (AsiaNews) - Khaled Abu Hassan, President of the Jordanian Parliamentary Committee on Transport, was given a victor’s welcome on his return home after visiting Damascus along with a delegation of high-level Jordanian parliamentarians. More than 100 people from the city of Al Ramsa, on the Syrian-Jordan border, greeted him with songs and applauses carrying him on their shoulders and praising the long-standing slogans of the Jordanian king Abdallah II and the Syrian president Bashar Assad. In a video circulated on social media you see cars parades in the streets of Al Ramsa with photos of both leaders.

One of the reasons for enthusiasm is the resumption of trade between the two countries, but the joy has also been unleashed for the liberation of a Jordanian citizen of Al Ramsa, Allawi Al Bashahiba arrested in Syria on charges of smuggling. His release was requested by the Jordanian deputies to the Syrian president, who pardoned him. It seems that at the request Assad replied: "We are freeing the repentant criminals of the armed opposition, and you do not want to free a Jordanian accused of common crimes?".

Internally, the visit of the Jordanian delegation to Damascus has spread a climate of optimism and hope. Despite the waiting hours at the crossings for checks, the flow of Jordanian visitors to Syria immediately increased. In the past years, the Jordanians had boycotted Syria, preferring to go to Turkey. Almost to counteract this recovery, the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, contrary to the normalization of relations with Syria, circulated reports that Damascus drew up a black list containing the names of 9 thousand Jordanian citizens, wanted by the Syrian authorities for their support of terrorism . The Jordanian Ministry of Justice has denied the news, stating that it is "invented and fake news that serves to intimidate the Jordanians and discourage them from visiting Syria".

Jordan has asked Syria to extend the border crossing by an additional two hours a day, given the increase in the number of passengers. Syrian and Jordanian travel agencies now offer tourists for trips to tourist destinations in both countries, with leaflets translated not only in English, but also - and this is new - in Russian. In Jordan, it is hoped to increase the flow of Russian tourists to Petra, the Dead Sea, Jarash Amphitheater and the Jordan River through Syria. At the same time, the goods produced in Syria increased and sold in the Jordanian markets, which prefer Syrian products for the quality-price ratio compared to other foreign import products.

On a political level, Jordanian press report of a voice message that Assad has addressed to the Jordanian king, in which he tells him that he has "turned the page and forgot the past".

According to reports in the Jordanian press, on 24 November, about 1,000 Syrian refugees returned to Syria. The refugee issue is dear to Jordan, which is home to around one million Syrian refugees. Like Lebanon, it would like to see refugees return as soon as possible.

From a strategic point of view through Syria, Jordan has access to the Mediterranean, while for Syria Jordan represents the possibility of reaching the Red Sea. For this reason, the Jordanian Ministry of Transport is studying the possibility of reactivating the railway linking the two countries, heavily damaged and looted by armed militias during the Syrian war.

At present, in relations between Syria and Jordan, economic interests and realpolitik seem to dominate. Relations had been severely damaged in the fight that Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt, Bahrain have implemented against Damascus. Amman, moreover, guarantor of the Holy Places of East Jerusalem, feels isolated, after Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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