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Amman calls for release of Jordanians detained by Assad

The Assad regime has 30 Syrians detained [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 April, 2019

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The Jordanian government has called on the Assad regime to release dozens of Jordanians held by Damascus.

Amman on Thursday called for the release of 30 Jordanians detained in Syria without reason, the kingdom's foreign ministry said, adding that it had summoned the Syrian embassy's charge d'affaires.

Aymen Alloush was summoned "for the fourth time in a row to demand the release of 30 Jordanian citizens... detained without clear reasons", a ministry spokesman Sufyan al-Qudah said in a statement.

All of them had crossed into the conflict-wracked country "for tourism or a visit" after Syria and Jordan reopened their shared border in October, he added. 

Amman has repeatedly contacted Syrian authorities "through diplomatic channels" to demand their release, Qudah said, adding that Damascus had failed to clearly respond. 

The main crossing point between Syria and Jordan was reopened following an agreement between Amman and Damascus. 

Known as Jaber on the Jordanian side and Nassib in Syria, it was once one of the Middle East's main trading routes.

It was closed in April 2015 after rebels fighting the Syrian regime overran the crossing. 

Syrian regime forces backed by Russian air power retook control of the border point in July last year.

Its reopening provided a boost for both countries. 

The crossing's closure had strained the economy of Jordan - a desert kingdom with few resources which is heavily reliant on imports and foreign aid.

The kingdom's commercial problems were coupled with unprecedented humanitarian and financial crises after hundreds of thousands of Syrians poured across the border to escape the war next door. 

King Abdullah II of Jordan, which hosts more than 700,000 Syrian refugees, has repeatedly called for a political settlement to the eight-year conflict in Syria.

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