Skip to main content

Will Jordan confront IS in southern Syria?

Some analysts say that recent movements and activities by the Islamic State near the Jordanian border could push Jordan to intervene militarily in southern Syria.
U.S. soldiers take part in Exercise Eager Lion at one of the Jordanian military bases in Zarqa, east of Amman, Jordan, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSFR5K

Jordan could be preparing for joint military operations with US and British special forces against Islamic State (IS) militants in southern Syria following King Abdullah’s meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on April 5. The talks dealt with a number of issues but centered on the US-led fight against the terrorist group, the creation of safe zones in Syria and Jordan’s role in both. In his interview with The Washington Post the same day, the king alluded to Jordan’s readiness to deal with threats to the kingdom’s northern borders, saying that “non-state actors from outside coming toward our border are not going to be tolerated.”

There are fears that as IS militants flee Mosul and Raqqa, many will head toward the vast Syrian Badia extending from Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria to the Jordanian border in the south. A recent US congressional report estimated the number of Jordanians who have joined IS in Iraq and Syria since 2011 at 4,000. Other estimates put the number of Jordanians fighting with IS at between 500-3,000. Regardless of the exact figure, pundits here believe many will try to come back to carry out terrorist attacks in Jordan.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.