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Negotiations stalled over Nasib border crossing

Local | 2017-11-12 11:45:01
Negotiations stalled over Nasib border crossing
(Eqtsad)- Negotiations regarding the opening of Nasib border crossing between Syria and Jordan remain have been stalled despite serious attempts and considerable pressure by some international actors to achieve a compromise formula that satisfies all parties.

Activist and lawyer Abu Qais al-Hourani said "the file of Nasib border crossing is one of the most complicated files in the southern region because the control of the crossing is a recognition of the sovereignty of the other party (regime or opposition). Neither the regime nor the opposition want that to happen despite the great pressure exerted by some countries."

Most important points of disagreement that hinder the opening of the border crossing is that the Assad regime requires the border crossing to raise the flag of the regime on its institutions, and that the administration is subject to the regime exclusively, whereas the armed factions believe that they are entitled to manage the crossing in cooperation with the Daraa Governorate Council even if this formula requires international supervision since the factions control the region and has made great sacrifices in that regard. 

Al-Horani indicated that the Jordanian side sees the need for consensus between the regime and the opposition on a reasonable formula that ensures the security of its northern borders as a prerequisite for opening the crossing. He pointed out Daraa Free Council and armed factions made several attempts and offered large guarantees during the previous two years to reopen the border crossing, but all these did not convince the Jordanian side.

The opposition factions that control most of the province of Daraa, including the border crossings with Jordan, will not allow the presence of the regime in this region without having the upper hand in operating the crossing. Allowing a small presence for regime institutions is a political decision that concerns residents of southern Syria who made great sacrifices in order to liberate these crossings from the grip of the regime. 

Revolutionary actors and activists called on the armed factions not to abandon the crossing or hand it over to the regime. They called for using it as an important pressure card to achieve some of the revolutionary gains like release of the detainees and revealing the fate of the forcibly disappeared and return of the displaced to their villages.

Activist Mohammed al-Darawi said, "the release of the detainees and the return of the displaced people to their homes is a popular demand and is a priority whereas the crossing is an economic and commercial demand. The priority is the release of the detainees and the return of the displaced to their homes for the people of Daraa.”

Eyewitnesses from Daraa believe that the opening of the Nasib border crossing will improve the economic situation for people and the province by exporting their agricultural products and securing new jobs, but they do not want to return to the regime in any way.

Abu Attiya, 56, who works in agriculture said, "I am for opening the crossing because opening it will increase the prices of agricultural crops which we had to sell cheaply because of the closure of export routes, but I do not want it to be opened through the regime which killed our children, demolished our homes and burned our crops." 

Ahmed al-Eid, 40, a driver of a small car between Jordan and Syria, confirmed that the opening of the crossing would bring him income which was affected by the closure of the crossing in 2015. He pointed out that he supports and wishes the crossing will open regardless of the party which will manage it because life conditions have become very difficult.

He pointed out that "thousands of families who were benefiting from operating the border crossing and became stranded after closure because were not able to obtain stable employment opportunities."

A well-informed source said the closure of the border crossing caused great economic losses. Regime-controlled Daraa province suffered greatly which used to reap large sums of fees, taxes and services that were included in the investment budget, pointing out that the daily regime losses due to the closure of the crossing are estimated according to economic reports to be about $ 15 million a day.

He added that "but the Jordi nan side is the most affected by the closure by estimated annual losses of more than 800 million dollars, while Lebanon's daily losses are more than two million dollars, because of the suspension of transit trade through the crossing to the Arab countries.

It is noteworthy that Nasib border crossing is located on the international highway Damascus - Amman, about 20 km away from Daraa city. Armed factions captured Nasib following fierce battles with the regime in April 2015 and the crossing is still under their control which led the Jordanian side to close the crossing for cars and people.

The crossing is one of the most important land border crossings in the Middle East, the only land crossing that links Syria with Jordan and the Arab countries to the south.
Zaman A Wasl
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