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Jordan army kills 27 drug smugglers on Syria border

AMMAN (AFP) – The Jordanian army killed 27 drug smugglers in a clash early yesterday as they tried to enter the kingdom from Syria, it said in a statement.

The traffickers were supported by an armed group, the army said, adding that “a preliminary search was conducted in the area, and large quantities of narcotics were found”.

The military operation at dawn “thwarted attempts to infiltrate and smuggle large quantities of narcotics from Syrian territory into Jordanian territory”, it said.

“The smugglers were supported by other armed groups,” added the army, which said its troops also wounded an unknown number of traffickers while others fled back into Syrian territory.

On January 17, the army announced that an officer had been killed and three border guards wounded in a clash with drug smugglers on the Syrian border.

Several days later, one of the wounded soldiers died of his injuries.

Jordan, which has been hosting about 1.6 million Syrian refugees since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria in 2011, has in recent years tightened controls along its border with Syria, which stretches for more than 350 kilometres.

Several dozen fighters, many of them extremists, have been arrested and imprisoned for attempting to enter Syrian territory from Jordan to fight in the civil war there.

Jordanian authorities say that 85 per cent of the drugs seized in the country are meant to transit the kingdom and bound for other countries.

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