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Jordan and Syria agree to reopen Naseeb border crossing

Passage 'vital to trade' between Jordan and Syria will reopen on Monday for first time in three years, say officials.

 Naseeb-Jaber crossing

Jordan and Syria have agreed to reopen a vital border crossing between the two countries, three years after the commercial lifeline fell to rebel groups and traffic was halted.

The Naseeb crossing would be opened on October 15, the Jordanian Petra news agency cited Jumana Ghunaimat, spokesperson for Jordan government, as saying on Sunday.

The decision came after technical teams from the two countries met on the Jordanian side. 

The passage, known as Jaber to Jordanians, "is a vital lifeline for trade between the two brotherly countries Jordan and Syria through them to other Arab countries," Ghunaimat said, according to Petra.

However, although the crossing will be officially opened on Monday, it will not open to normal traffic just yet, said Nael Husami, head of the Amman chamber of industry.

Syria's Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar also confirmed the crossing's reopening, according to Syria's state news agency.

The move comes after Syrian government troops reclaimed their side of the crossing in July as part of a deal with rebel fighters. 

The resumption of commercial trade through the crossing would bring major relief to President Bashar al-Assad's government by restoring a much-needed gateway for Syrian exports to Arab countries.

It would also mark a diplomatic victory for Assad, whose government has been isolated from its Arab neighbours since the war began in 2011.

Arab countries have boycotted the Syrian government since the early days of the war, freezing its membership in the 22-member state Arab League.

Syria's only other normally operating border is with Lebanon. Its frontier with Turkey is only open into rebel-held areas, and its crossing with Iraq is only open for government or military uses.


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