Syria and Jordan Reopen Vital Commercial Corridor

File Pentagon Says Weapons Used by US-Led Coalition in Syria Comply With Intl Norms

File Pentagon Says Weapons Used by US-Led Coalition in Syria Comply With Intl Norms

Cars began trickling across Syria's southern Naseeb border crossing with Jordan on Monday morning as the crossing partially opened for the first time in more than three years, signaling initial steps towards "normalization" between Amman and Damascus.

The crossing's reopening would bring major relief to President Bashar Assad's government by restoring a much-needed gateway for Syrian exports to Arab countries. Last month, it hiked fees for all trailers transiting through its territories.

The 22-member Arab League froze Syria's membership after the civil war broke out, largely because of widespread disgust for the intensity with which Assad sought to crush the uprising against his rule.

"This plaque commemorates the reopening of the Quneitra crossing on 15.10.2018", it said.

Syrian state television also cited Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar as saying the border crossing and roads leading to it were being renovated. Its closure in 2015 cut a crucial transit route for trucks transporting goods between Syria, Jordan, Turkey and other Persian Gulf countries.

Syria's state-run news agency says hundreds of Syrian refugees have crossed into the country from neighboring Lebanon, the last batch to return home in recent weeks.

The return of the 1,000 some troops was made possible after Syrian government troops retook the Syrian side of the crossing in July, as part of a deal with rebel fighters brokered by Russian Federation.

On Friday, the United Nations announced Israel and Syria have agreed to re-open the Quneitra crossing to facilitate the work of UN peacekeepers.

The use of Nasib crossing by the Lebanese will take some time and specific procedures, the source added.

Syrian state television footage showed the Syrian side of the crossing as being virtually empty, with just a couple of vehicles present.

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With the help of Russian Federation and Iran-backed militias, the Syrian regime has recently reassumed control of the two crossings following fierce battles with armed opposition groups that had held them for the last three years.

A USA -backed Syrian force and a war monitor say members of the Islamic State group have stormed a settlement for displaced people in the country's east and kidnapped scores of civilians.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights in 1967. Government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants past year.

The US-led coalition has spread flayers over the Hajin enclave, east of the Euphrates river, in which it called the area's people to leave it, in sync with the battles against the "Islamic State" (ISIS).

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Iraqi foreign minister, offered an encouraging response, talking of improving relations with Syria and reintegrating it into the Arab world.

On Saturday, IS militants stormed a settlement for displaced people in Hajin and abducted scores of civilians.

"The use of internationally-prohibited weapons against the Syrian people is a flagrant violation of the global law and human rights", the ministry said.

IS "has used innocent civilians as human shields in the past and leaflets often give them instructions for the quickest and safest exits, but we fully understand many have no other places to go", said Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the USA -led coalition.

SDF teams are receiving the civilians and "provide shelter for them and provide the necessary needs,"the SDF media center had said earlier". But the observers left the crossing as Syria's civil war made it unsafe.

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