Jordan cracks down on Islamists, "Syrian jihadists"
Four citizens residing in the Jordanian city of Irbid were arrested late last week for allegedly attempting to facilitate the entry of “would-be Islamist fighters” into Syria, according to Islamist and official sources.
The four men — Othman Al Dalki, Mohammad Abu Saleh, Louay Abu Saleh and Mohammad Dabous — are reportedly veteran members of the hard-line Jihadi Salafist movement, which has emerged in recent months as a leading recruiter for Syrian Islamist groups in the country.
Mohammed Shalabi, or Abu Sayyaf, head of the Salafist movement, denied that the four men had any ties to Syrian jihadist groups, charging that their arrest came as part of an alleged ongoing campaign by authorities to “intimidate” supporters of Syrian rebels and would-be-jihadists.
“These men were arrested and have been held without trial, and without any notice given to their families,” Abu Sayyaf told The Jordan Times.
“This is only part of a campaign to prevent the rising number of Jordanians and other Muslims who wish to defend their brothers in Syria,” the veteran Islamist said.
A security source said intelligence services apprehended the four men near the country’s 370-kilometre shared border with Syria last week while they were attempting to cross into the country.
The arrests raise the total number of people who have been detained for alleged ties to Syrian jihadist groups since last December to 240.
The Jordanian Jihadi Salafist movement claims that over 2,000 Jordanians are currently fighting alongside the ranks of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Al Nusra coalition and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Officials maintain that the growing flow of foreign fighters into Syria represents a direct security threat to Jordan, with the State Security Court handing down prison sentences of up to 15 years to over 30 individuals suspected of Syrian jihadist ties since December 2013.