The border crossing between Jordan and Syria opened to people and goods on Monday after being closed for three years, reopening a route that used to carry billions of dollars of trade for countries across the region.
The Nassib crossing opened at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT), a border official at the Jaber checkpoint on the Jordanian side told Reuters. Jordanian state news agency Petra reported early on Monday that Jordan and Syria had agreed to open the border to all in a change from an earlier statement that normal traffic would not be allowed until a later date.
“We are fully ready to receive passengers and transport of goods,” Imad Riyalat, head of the Jaber crossing, told Reuters. “We expect the traffic to be slow now at the start, but in coming days we expect passenger movement to pick up.”
The Syrian government retook the area around the border crossing in July during a Russian-backed offensive to drive rebels from their stronghold in southwest Syria. The civil war in Syria began more than seven years ago.
Part of a Syrian business delegation crossing into Jordan, Muhammad Hamsho, general secretary of Syria’s chambers of commerce union, told Syrian TV he hoped the border opening would help the economies of both countries.
The crossing’s closure in 2015 cut a crucial transit route for hundreds of trucks a day transporting goods between Turkey and the Gulf, and Lebanon and the Gulf, in multi-billion dollar annual trade.
While the crossing was closed, Syria’s only normally operating frontier crossing had been with Lebanon, which itself has no other functioning land borders. Lebanon relies on Syria for overland connections to all other countries because its only other frontier is with Israel, with which it has no ties.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun tweeted: “Opening Nassib crossing will revive various Lebanese productive sectors and lower the cost of exporting goods from Lebanon to Arab countries.”
Petra said Syrians entering Jordan must first obtain security clearance from Jordanian authorities, as has been the case throughout the war. “A Jordanian citizen may leave for Syria in their own car or as a regular passenger. Jordanian cargo is also allowed to leave for Syria according to the Jordanian-Syrian agreement,” Petra said.