The Syrian conflict has expanded its reach yet again, with Jordan the latest country to use its military on forces threatening its border. Israel faced a bomb attack backed by the Syrian army and retaliated, Turkey shot down a Syrian jet near its border, and now Jordan has targeted “a number of armed vehicles” trying to enter their country, according to the Petra News Agency.
But while the previous two border incidents in the region involved the Syrian army, the instigators of Jordan’s foray into the violence remain unclear. Were they from the Syrian regime, or rebel forces? And if they’re rebels, does that mean a new war front could be opening?
Jordan, as an ally of the United States and not the Iranian circle of friends, is typically thought of as being opposed to the Syrian regime that has murdered tens of thousands of its own people. However, The New York Times reported that that the Syrian army said the vehicles that tried to enter Jordan weren’t theirs.
Inside sources gave conflicting reports to The New York Times. One said the vehicles did belong to the rebels, one denied that they did.
The Petra News Agency didn’t say. Citing a statement from the Jordanian Armed Forces, Petra reported that the vehicles were camouflaged and attempted to enter Jordan from Syria. After warning shots from Jordanian fighter jets didn’t discourage the vehicles, the jets opened fire and destroyed the vehicles.
The incident raises concerns not only that the Syrian civil war could now bring Jordan into the fighting—spreading the conflict to yet another country—but includes the possibility that the terror groups fighting with the Syrian rebels could become an ongoing threat to neighboring nations such as Jordan.
In other words, Syria’s civil war could see a fourth front in its conflict. Already the rebels are fighting the regime and its allies, the different rebel groups fought each other and the Syrian regime has had some skirmishes with neighboring nations such as Israel and Turkey. But now, a new battle could emerge, in which extremist rebel groups start fighting with neighboring countries as well.
Considering the fact that Al-Qaeda either inspires or supports such groups, that sounds like a new front in the war on terror—not just the Syrian civil war.
In other words, a handful of armed vehicles trying to cross the border could be the least of the concerns in the future for Israel and the other countries that border Syria.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 17, 2014)