Jordanian authorities have blocked a rising number of attempts to smuggle arms across the Jordanian-Syrian border, as terrorists and extremists attempt to exploit instability in Syria.
According to The Jordan Times, Jordanian authorities have detained Syrian nationals attempting to smuggle dozens of anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles and hundreds of automatic assault rifles into Jordan. Authorities foiled 20 such smuggling operations in one month alone in 2013.
“Investigations are underway to determine if they were trying to smuggle the weapons to sell them or to carry out terrorist acts in Jordan,” a Jordan military spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
Security sources speculate that the Syrian nationals are trying to traffic the weapons into the southwest Syrian town of Tal Shihab, a rebel stronghold that sits on a key smuggling route.
Jordanian officials say they will continue to monitor the border to avert the flow of arms, terrorists and foreign fighters into either country.
Syrian violence has driven more than 500,000 refugees to Jordan. Most are women and children. Jordanian King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein; Gen. Mashal Al Zaben, Jordan’s top military officer; and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, have discussed the need for increased humanitarian assistance to Jordan to ease the strain caused by refugees.