Images surfaced overnight Thursday of a large Jordanian military convoy reportedly headed to the border near the Syrian province of Daraa, including M-60 battle tanks and heavy military equipment.
This as German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman on Thursday, telling him, “You live not just with the Syria conflict, but also we see Iran’s activities with regard to Israel’s security and with regard to Jordan’s border.”
Beirut based Al Masdar News published the photos provided through its sources in the region with the description: The Jordanian military is deploying reinforcements, including heavy military equipment, on the border with the Syrian province of Daraa, according to Jordanian and Syrian sources.
As we reported this week, the long awaited battle for Daraa has begun despite repeat warnings issued to the Syrian government from the US not to extend its military campaign to the country’s south, where the conflict first began with fierce anti-Assad protests in 2011 which quickly spiraled into violence.
The convergence of geopolitical interests among the external and regional powers which have long fueled the Syrian proxy war makes Syria’s southwest region the perfect storm for potential outside intervention and dangerous broader conflagration.
The below summarizes this week’s developments which makes the rapidly unfolding events in Syria’s southwest provinces a highly volatile and escalating situation:
- Israel has warned against the deployment Iranian and Hezbollah fighters allied with the Syrian government, especially near the contested Golan Heights area.
- The US has threatened to take “take firm and appropriate measures” should Damascus continue its military campaign in Deraa.
- The Syrian Army and the US-backed group, Jaysh Al-Mughawir Al-Thoura from the Al-Tanf area clashed on Thursday, leaving one Syrian soldier dead.
- Jordan’s King Abdullah has joined Israel in denouncing Iran’s “meddling” in the region, and met this week with Israeli PM Netanyahu in the first public meeting between the two leaders since 2014.
- King Abdullah also met this week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussed countering “Iranian aggression”.
- Israel attacked (or possibly US coalition) Syrian Army and Iraqi paramilitary forces near the Iraq-Syria border on Sunday, killing over 40 pro-Syrian and allied fighters.
- Assad has vowed to liberate “every inch” of sovereign Syrian territory and sees the return of Al-Quneitra and Daraa governorates to the government as key to ending Israeli and other outside meddling, including an ISIS pocket which lies adjacent to Israel and Jordan.
- Huge Syrian military convoys have been seen entering the southwest provinces, preparing for a final major offensive.
- Jordan has sent reinforcements to its border opposite Daraa to both ensure fleeing militants don’t penetrate into Jordanian territory and in support of the US coalition desire to “counter Iran”.