Jordan to reopen Syria border crossing at 'full capacity'
Jordan announced on Wednesday it will reopen the Jaber-Nassib border crossing with Syria at full capacity on Sunday, after one year of restricted operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jordanian Interior Minister Mazen Al-Faraya said in a statement on Wednesday that "after carrying out full preparations on the ground with the Syrian side, full operation of the Jaber border centre will begin on the morning of Sunday 1st August".
Faraya added that 500 travellers from Syria would be allowed to cross into Jordan every day, and 200 vehicles - 100 from each side - would traverse the border. Before the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of people would cross the border daily.
Jordan closed the Jaber-Nassib crossing on 12 August 2020 after a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases.
It was later reopened in a limited fashion, with passengers and goods having to transfer to different vehicles on the Jordanian side in a "back-to-back" system.
From Sunday, Syrian truck drivers will be able to pass directly into Jordan in their vehicles and continue from there to Gulf countries.
Previously, only 150 people were allowed to cross into Jordan every day and they needed prior approval from Jordanian authorities.
From 1 August, Syrians will still need prior approval to enter Jordan but people of other nationalities will be allowed to cross the border without approval.
Arrivals from Syria will need to register on an internet platform and take a coronavirus test. This excludes Jordanian nationals who have already been vaccinated in Jordan.
Jordan hosts over 650,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict and they will be allowed to return to Syria through the Jaber-Nassib border crossing "without any prior conditions".
Jordan has taken an ambivalent attitude to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad ever since the Syrian conflict began in 2011 with the brutal suppression of pro-democracy protests by the regime.
It previously provided limited support to Syrian rebels in Daraa province and in 2015 closed the Jaber-Nassib crossing, reopening it in 2018 when Daraa was captured by the regime.
This week, Jordan King Abdullah II said that Assad would remain in power "for a long time" and that Jordan had to take a "mature" attitude to developments in neighbouring Syria.