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Feb 4, 2013 | 17:46 GMT

Syria-Bound Weapons Sent Through Jordan

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(Stratfor)
Syria-Bound Weapons Sent Through Jordan

As Syrian rebels try to close in on Damascus, increasing numbers of jihadists and militants are becoming active in southern Syria near the Jordanian border. Jordan is worried that the presence of these fighters could embolden its own Islamist opposition if Syrian President Bashar al Assad's regime collapses. However, Amman also has an interest in developing constructive relationships with the rebels that are fighting against the al Assad regime. In the service of these relationships, Amman has decided to allow weapons transferred from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies into Syria in exchange for much-needed economic aid from Gulf Cooperation Council states. There is evidence that significant weaponry has been flowing from Jordan into the southern Syrian governorates of Daraa and Sweida. Rebels fighting in southern Syria are using weapons like the M79 Osa rocket launcher, the RPG-22, the M60 recoilless rifle and the RBG-6 multiple grenade launcher. While the United Arab Emirates is the only Gulf Cooperation Council country that has delivered its share of the total promised $5 billion in aid to Jordan so far, Stratfor sources have indicated that Saudi Arabia will ensure that the rest is delivered. Riyadh has offered Amman an additional $500 million this year in return for allowing military support to cross the border into Syria. Jordan has been very cautious about allowing this, but Amman has little choice — the rebels will be present in the area for the foreseeable future, and it is better for Jordan to forge connections with them rather than become a target if al Assad eventually falls.

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