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.