Jordanians express concern about unrest in Syria

Jordanians are worried that the unrest in Syria will harm their economy. [Syrian TV/Reuters]

Jordanians are worried that the unrest in Syria will harm their economy. [Syrian TV/Reuters]

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Jordanian officials and analysts said that political unrest in Syria is affecting economic activity and tourism in the kingdom, especially border traffic.

However, they ruled out the possibility that unrest in Syria will alter Jordan's political environment because of the dissimilarities of the political situation on both sides.

Jordanian officials announced April 25th that Syria was closing border crossings with Jordan from the Syrian side of the borders only, due to escalating turmoil in Syrian-Jordanian border towns, especially in Daraa. There are two crossings between Jordan and Syria, Jaber and Ramtha, which an estimated one million international travellers pass through annually.

Fouad Krishan, a professor of economics and development, told Al-Shorfa he is concerned about the situation in Syria and its impact on the Jordanian economy, especially the electric power exchange and joint water sectors, as well as tourism, freight traffic, and shipping.

Trade has been affected initially, especially transport. Jamil Mujahid, director general of the Land Transport Regulatory Commission, told Al-Shorfa, "There is a decline in traffic between Jordan and Syria, especially in truck freight."

According to Mujahid, the number of freight trucks passing through the two countries declined from 500 to about 300 trucks a day, a decline of 40%.

Salim Gideon, head of the Clearance Company Owners Union, said any improvement in transit traffic is contingent upon improvement in the situation in Syria. He warned of the consequences of the problem on the upcoming tourist season.

"The tourism sectors in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon face potentially harsh conditions in the event the status quo continues in addition to truck congestion on their common borders," he said.

Gideon underscored the [recent] reliance on maritime and air cargo transport, especially Turkish goods coming to Jordan through Syria and goods traveling from northern countries to Gulf states through Jordanian territory.

"Iron ore is imported from Ukraine and Russia to Jordan through the Syrian port of Tartus then by land to Amman. Local iron plants are now importing iron through the Jordanian port of Aqaba, which raises the cost of insurance and shipping the material," Gideon said.

Malek Haddad, general manager of Jet Passenger Transport Company, said events in Syria have affected the tourism sector, as evident in the lack of tourist vehicle traffic, which he attributed to "the unwillingness of tourists to travel between the two countries."

Mazen Aqili, a political science professor, said, "The events in Syria are different from other Arab states because there are extensive relationships between Jordan and Syria, and a study of the implications requires in-depth research that goes beyond the economic aspect to consider also the political and social effects."

Aqili said it is unlikely the events in Syria would influence the political situation in Jordan because the political environment is entirely different.

Jordanians have reacted to events in Syria since they erupted. On April 29th, hundreds of demonstrators in the city of Ramtha took to the streets to demand the lifting of the siege on Daraa.

Taher Al-Edwan, an official spokesman for the Jordanian government, said on April 28th that dozens of Syrians have fled to the Jordanian border to escape the Syrian army's siege in Daraa. The displaced Syrians were greeted in the village of Thneiba, but they eventually returned to their city.

The government made preparations to host displaced Syrians in Ramtha by outfitting a number of schools and providing physicians to handle any emergency.

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    فاضل كطامي

    2011-7-14

    By God, the current situation in Syria is really bad. Syria is actually a peaceful country. I wonder what happened to it and who the main one is who is responsible for all such filthy and cowardly acts. I also wonder whether Syrians are satisfied with the criminality that is going on in their country. As far as I am concerned, the acts that happened in Syria are preplanned by someone who wants to sabotage all the Muslim Arab countries. Thus, Syria is really unlucky, since these acts that are taking place can be considered criminal. Thus, I want to pray God to curse whoever wants sabotage and destruction for Syria. It is a temporary crisis, God willing, in order to maintain peace.

  • رفعت باسم

    2011-7-10

    The events taking place in Syria are among the most dangerous incidents that have affected the country for decades. In fact, these events have represented a popular revolution for the sake of political change. Today, these events are going through a dangerous stage, due to the daily conflicts that have led to many victims among the protestors and opponents who have been against the regime of Al-Assad. In fact, the country has witnessed a lot of bloodshed and victims every day. This is very dangerous, especially with all these huge losses of innocent lives.

  • اسامة شريف

    2011-7-8

    I think that the events taking place in Syria are similar to what is happening in many Arab countries. The winds of change have affected Syria, especially after the appearance of the people’s intention to achieve a political change in the country. In fact, Syrians have faced suffering and injustice for nearly five decades. Today, the events taking place in Syria have led to the change that the people have long been waiting for. In fact, this change will end the years of oppression, repression and random executions that regime committed against the Syrians. Besides, these events reflect change and an uprising against the unjust political regime that has ruled Syria with iron and fire. Thus, I support this change.

  • نبيل المصداق

    2011-7-6

    What is happening in Syria is something very unfortunate, and it shows that there is something wrong or there is neglect to the rights of the Syrian citizens. The latter have been strongly demanding their rights but the government rejects such actions. The people have encountered many difficulties and found no one to extend a helping hand to them and what is happening in Syria shows that they object to the policy adopted by the government in dealing with the Syrian people, as it is practicing oppression and dictatorship. Many Syrian people are suffering from poverty, hunger and unemployment, and they are in great need of the services and amenities which they are deprived of. That is why a lot of Syrians have come out demanding their legitimate rights and standing against the government, which has ignored their rights.

  • نصير حسن

    2011-7-6

    The events taking place today in Syria have a bad effect on the lives of the Syrian citizens, who are now suffering from the domination of an authoritarian rule which stifles freedoms and does not deal well with people. The rulers of Syria have instructed the security forces, in addition to the militia called "Shabbiha,” which we never heard of before, to disperse the demonstrators by force and to kill and beat people with batons, arrest men of the age of forty years and under and force them to leave their homes. All this happened as a result of the people’s demand for the improvement of services and fighting corruption.

  • ادم

    2011-5-29

    The current events of terrorism and killing taking place in Syria represent a stain on the history of the Syrian government that has raised democratic slogans. However, it has carried out dictatorial operations against its people, who have held peaceful demonstrations in order to call for change and reform. They also want to fight corruption like the other Arab countries who have called for their legitimate rights in order to apply the principles of justice and fairness. Unfortunately, we see that the Syrian government continues its tyranny against its people by practicing all kinds of injustice and terrorism against them. Thus, the citizens are suffering from the indiscriminate arrests by the militias of the so-called “Chbiha.” This is in addition to killing demonstrators in front of the TV reporters’ cameras.