DAMASCUS: Syria’s transport ministry said Saturday the main border crossing with Jordan had reopened to trade for the first time in three years, although there was no immediate confirmation from Amman.
“The Syrian transport ministry announces the opening of the Nasib border crossing, with trucks and transit vehicles beginning to cross the Syrian-Jordanian border,” the ministry announced on its Facebook page.
Government troops retook the Syrian side of the crossing in July under a deal with rebel fighters brokered by Damascus ally Moscow.
It had been sealed completely since rebels overran it in April 2015, choking off one of the most important trade routes for the government.
The crossing was a key link not only for direct trade between the neighbouring countries but also for longer-distance transit trade between Lebanon and the Gulf which was a signficant source of revenue.
There was immediate word from Jordan on the reopening of the crossing, which is known there as Jaber.
Earlier this week, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis said all necessary steps had been completed to reopen the crossing, with investment in new infrastructure to be paid for by a sharp hike in duties.
“This crossing will be invested in according to our national interest. The customs fees were amended to achieve the interests of the Syrian state, increased from $10 to $62 for a four-tonne truck,” Khamis said.
Despite retaking swathes of territory in successive Russian-backed offensives this year, Damascus still controls only half of the 19 crossings along Syria’s lengthy borders with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.