By David Daoud
The expansion of the areas in Syria under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps towards contested areas near neighboring Jordanian villages and towns constitutes a dramatic and dangerous development for the Hashemite monarchy, according to reports from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and opposition activists.
These leadership elements have verified that thousands of IRGC operatives, supported by Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi, Afghani and Tajik Shi’a militias are holding three points on the border, separated from Jordan by a mere few kilometers.
While the FSA sources confirmed to Al-Jazeera that Jordan is worried about this Iranian expansion towards its borders, and that there are continuous intelligence communications between Jordanian authorities and some of the Syrian factions which are fighting on the ground, Amman has maintained its silence over the matter.
However, media reports have linked the Iranian expansion to the recent surprise visit by Jordanian Foreign Minister, Nasser Judeh, to Tehran. The leaks indicate that Judeh received an explanation from the Iranians regarding the purpose of their presence near his country’s borders with Syria, and Amman aimed to receive some assurances regarding this development.
According to the sources, the most important area in which Iranian fighters are located is known as the “Triangle of Death” which links Ghouta, Damascus, Dara’a and Quneitra, and which is only 70 km away from the Iranian village of Al-Shajara.
The sources also indicated that this Triangle has become an assembly point for thousands of Iranians and their Shi’a allies, and their number has reached somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand fighters. Meanwhile, there are intense battles going on between the Iranian faction and the Free Syrian Army, as well as Islamist factions like Al-Nusra Front, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham, and the Islamic Front.
The sources cited by Al-Jazeera also reported that there is another position where the IRGC is setting up base, Basra Al-Sham in Dara’a, which is only 15 km away from the Jordanian village of Al-Mutakhma.
A Syrian source has said that this point contains almost 5000 IRGC fighters, who have taken up base in the barracks of the 5th Division in the Sweida’ Province, and in military airports, including Al-Sala’a and Khalkhala.
A third point, where 3000 IRGC fighters have assembled along with their Shi’a allies, is in the Azra’ region, which is in the center of Dara’a, which is only 35 km away from the Jordanian border.
Jordanian politicians and military officials view these developments with gravity, and as an indication that Jordan is facing a very threatening situation, for it is now surrounded by crises and Iranian proxies on most of its borders, according to the report.