The Jordanian army said Thursday it had killed 27 drug smugglers in a clash as they tried to enter Jordan from Syria.
The report on the army’s website said that it had thwarted several suspected attempts by smugglers to move drugs into Jordan from Syria. It added large quantities of narcotics were seized in separate interventions that left several people wounded.
The military said that it was “continuing to apply the newly established rules of engagement and will strike with an iron fist and deal with force and firmness with any infiltration or smuggling attempts to protect the borders.”
Earlier this month, the military said an army officer was killed in a clash with smugglers along the long border it shares with Syria.
In September, Jordanian officials discussed border security with the Assad regime after its forces captured opposition-held areas along the Jordanian frontier. A month later, Jordan’s King Abdullah II spoke with Bashar al-Assad for the first time in a decade following the reopening of a key border crossing.
An illegal drug industry has flourished in Syria after 10 years of civil war. In recent years, it has emerged as a hotspot for making and selling captagon, an illegal amphetamine. Both Syria and neighboring Lebanon have become gateways for the drug to the Middle East, and particularly the Gulf.
The UN Office of Drugs and Crime said in a 2014 report that the amphetamine market is on the rise in the Middle East, with busts mostly in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria accounting for more than 55 percent of amphetamines seized worldwide.