Skip to main content

Suspected Jordanian airstrike kills Syrian drug trafficker on border

The airstrike coming one day after Syria’s re-admission to the Arab League reportedly killed Marai al-Ramthan, a notorious drug dealer.
A picture taken during a tour origanized by the Jordanian army shows soldiers patrolling along the border with Syria to prevent trafficking, Feb. 17, 2022.

A prominent drug trafficker in Syria was reportedly killed by a Jordanian airstrike early Monday morning inside Syrian territory, local reports said. 

The event follows Jordan threatening last week to take action against drug smuggling from Syria into its territory, as well as Syria’s readmission into the Arab League on Sunday.

What happened: The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that Marai al-Ramthan along with his wife and six children were killed in a “likely Jordanian” airstrike in the eastern countryside of Suwayda in southern Syria near the Jordanian border. The war monitor described Ramthan as the most prominent drug dealer in the region and alleged he has connections to the Lebanese military organization Hezbollah.

Images circulated on Syrian social media purportedly showing the aftermath of the strike.



The Jordanian news site Khaberni reported that warplanes were heard in Ramtha on the Syrian border early Monday morning.

SOHR also reported that a technical station in Kharab al-Shahm, west of southern Syria’s Daraa, was bombed on Monday. Some Syrian media outlets reported that the target was related to drug trafficking, but details were not immediately clear.

Images of the Daraa attack also circulated on social media.




Why it matters: The incident comes amid Jordan’s concerns about drug smuggling from Syria and ongoing efforts to normalize relations with the Syrian government.

Syria was readmitted to the Arab League on Sunday. Ahead of the vote, Jordan hosted regional diplomats to discuss Syria's return to the bloc. Drug smuggling and border security were some of the issues discussed.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also told CNN last week that the Hashemite Kingdom is prepared to take military action in Syria to stop drug smuggling.  

“If we do not see effective measures to curb that threat, we will do what it takes to counter that threat, including taking military action inside Syria to eliminate this extremely dangerous threat,” said Safadi.

The multibillion-dollar trade of the amphetamine-like drug Captagon in Syria is of particular concern to Jordan as well as Gulf states.

Jordan has taken military action against drug smugglers from Syria before. In January 2022, Jordanian border guards got into a deadly shootout with drug smugglers on the Syrian border.

The Syrian government and its ally Hezbollah are both accused of participating in drug smuggling.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Security Briefing Security Briefing

Security Briefing

Middle East defense and security in your inbox

Trend Reports

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (4th R) attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22, 2019. (Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HOW HWEE YOUNG/AFP via Getty Images)

From roads to routers: The future of China-Middle East connectivity

A general view shows the solar plant in Uyayna, north of Riyadh, on March 29, 2018. - On March 27, Saudi announced a deal with Japan's SoftBank to build the world's biggest solar plant. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Regulations on Middle East renewable energy industry starting to take shape

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial