Quneitra (Syria): Syria opened two key border crossings on Monday after years of closure due to the ongoing civil war ravaging the country, re-establishing links with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, officials said.
In the occupied Golan Heights, the Quneitra crossing was opened only for the UN peacekeeping force that maintains the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire, after remaining closed since 2014, when UN troops were transferred to the Israeli side of the boundary due to security risks posed by militants on the Syrian side.
An Israeli Army officer told Efe news that UN peacekeepers would be progressively returning to the site.
“In the future, if everything goes well, (the Quneitra crossing) will be opened for the transit of people for family visits and for trade,” the officer said.
The Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is a part of Syria that was captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in 1981 in a move that was not internationally recognized.
Amira Ibrahim, a Syrian Druze woman from a village in the part of the Golan Heights under Israeli control, told Efe that she was very happy that the crossing was reopening, saying it would be a great benefit for all the Druze of the occupied Golan region to be able to regain contact with their families on the other side.
She said it would help young people “to go to study in Syria, because they do not always get to study in Israeli universities”.
The Nassib-Jaber border crossing between Syria and Jordan was also reopened for commercial traffic after three years of inactivity, as the Syrian side of the border was controlled by militants until July, according to the state-run Syrian and Jordanian news services.
Both the SANA and Petra news agencies confirmed traffic had begun to pass through the crossing, which would mean the reconnection of the international highway that crosses Syria from north to south and the resumption of exports to Jordan and the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, a major boost to the Syrian economy.