x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 October 2017

Jordan says Syria ties headed in 'right direction'

The government spokesman said his remarks were 'a very important message that everyone should hear'.

Syrians walk carrying their belongings on August 22, 2017 after crossing the Syria-Jordan border near the town of Nasib as they return to their homes following a US-Russia ceasefire brokered in three southern provinces. Mohamad Abazeed / AFP
Syrians walk carrying their belongings on August 22, 2017 after crossing the Syria-Jordan border near the town of Nasib as they return to their homes following a US-Russia ceasefire brokered in three southern provinces. Mohamad Abazeed / AFP

Jordan has said its relations with the Syrian regime are heading in the "right direction" and looked forward to a reopening of the border crossings with its war-torn neighbour.

"Our relations with the Syrian state and regime are going in the right direction," government spokesman Mohammed Momani said on television on Friday night.

Mr Momani highlighted the "stability" of the situation in southern Syria, across the border from Jordan.

The government spokesman, who is also state minister for information, said his remarks were "a very important message that everyone should hear".

A ceasefire brokered by the US, Russia and Jordan in the southern Syrian provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Suweida has largely held since it entered into force July 9.

Russia and Iran, the Syrian regime's main allies, and rebel-backer Turkey agreed in May to create four safe zones in Syria in a deal aimed at bringing a lasting truce.

Their negotiations are parallel to UN-sponsored talks.

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More than 600,000 Syrians returned home between January and July

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Moscow believes the "de-escalation zone" in southern Syria can only be put in place with the agreement of the US and Jordan.

"The ceasefire is holding, and we hope there will soon be additional measures to consolidate stability and security in Syria," said Mr Momani.

"If the current situation continues and southern Syria stabilises, it would allow for the reopening of the crossing points between the two states," he added.

Jordan is one of the few Arab countries not to have closed its embassy in Damascus, and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Amman also remains open.

The kingdom shares a border of more than 370 kilometres with Syria, where over 330,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since its conflict broke out in 2011.

The UN says Jordan is hosting more than 650,000 Syrian refugees, while the kingdom puts their actual number at 1.4 million.