Jordanian forces clash with Syrian jihadists near border
The military clashed with jihadists along the Syria border on Wednesday, security and Islamist sources say, marking the second high-profile incident in the border region in less than a month.
According to a statement by the Jordan Armed Forces, the Jordanian border guard traded fire with an unidentified group of individuals early Wednesday after they attempted to illegally cross into Jordan from Syria.
The border guard injured two of the gunmen in the clashes, according to the statement, carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, which did not disclose the number or nationality of the individuals.
Islamist sources claimed the gunmen were part of a group of Jordanian citizens returning to the country after fighting alongside Islamist militants in southern Syria.
The reported gunmen were a group of 10 Jordanians attempting to cross into the country in order to receive medical treatment for wounds sustained while fighting alongside Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra coalition, the sources said.
“The group were attempting to return to their homeland after months of fighting alongside Syrian rebels when the clashes broke out, said a Jordanian jihadist activist, who refrained from being named due to security concerns.
Wednesday’s clashes marked the second Jordanian use of military force along the country’s border with Syria in less than two weeks.
Late last month, the air force targeted a convoy of unidentified armoured vehicles attempting to cross into Jordan after they failed to heed a series of warning shots.
Both the Syrian regime and rebel forces denied responsibility for the incident.
The clashes come as Jordan continues to impose a security crackdown on the countries’ 370-kilometre shared border, with security forces having arrested over 50 Jordanian and alleged foreign jihadists over the past two weeks.
Over 2,200 Jordanians are currently fighting alongside Islamist militias in Syria, according to Islamist sources, with the vast majority serving under the umbrellas of Al Nusra and its rival, former Al Qaeda affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.