The strategic Naseeb crossing between Syria and Jordan on the Damascus-Amman international highway was reopened Monday, just one day after both countries agreed to it. The crossing had been closed since 2015 when the rebels took over that area in Syria's southern province of Daraa. Also Monday the only crossing point near the Syrian border town of Quneitra between Syria and the Golan Heights, under Israeli occupation since 1967, was reopened for United Nations observers, four years after closing due to the civil war, following a deal between Israel, Syria and the UN.
Technical teams from Syria and Jordan met Sunday at the Jaber border point, which is on the Jordanian side, and finalised all arrangements and measures pertaining to the re-opening of what used to be the busiest border crossing between the two countries.
The observers from the UN had left the Quneitra crossing in 2014 after a 40-year presence in there to monitor a ceasefire and a demilitarised zone. Syrian forces recaptured both the Quneitra and Daraa areas in July.
The closure of the Nassed-Jaber passage in 2015 cut a crucial transit route for hundreds of vehicles a day transporting goods between Turkey and the Gulf, and Lebanon and the Gulf, in multi-billion dollar annual trade.
Last month, Syrian rose the transit crossing fees to be paid by lorries passing through their territory, regardless of they are loaded or empty.
Syria is also discussing with Iraq the reopening of their border. Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari, who was in Damascus on on a three-day visit, met Sunday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, and discussed speeding up the process, it was reported. At present, Syria's crossing with Iraq is only open for government or military uses, while its frontier with Turkey is only open into rebel-held areas.
The war-torn country's only other normally operating border is with Lebanon, which itself has no other functioning land borders. Opening the Syria-Jordan border will also be important for Lebanese exporters to be able once again to send produce overland through Syria to the wider region. Lebanon also has a land border with Israel, but therre are no ties between the two countries.
The reopening of that crossing would mark a diplomatic victory for Assad, whose government has been isolated from its Arab neighbours since the war began in Syria in 2011. Arab countries have boycotted the Syrian government since the early days of the war, freezing its membership in the 22-member state Arab League.