Increasing tension between Syria and Jordan has reached a new peak with Syria saying that it is ready to use military force to prevent Jordan joining the Camp David peace talks.
GV PAN Jordanian Embassy in Beirut with armed guards at entrance. (3 SHOTS)
GV Armed guards patrolling Iranian Embassy and guarding entrance. (4 SHOTS)
GV PAN Border patrol with cars stopped at checkpoint in Damascus, Syria.
CU Syrian troops checking passports of drivers and passengers.
CU INTERIOR Soldiers checking passports. (2 SHOTS)
CU PAN DOWN FROM Arabic sign TO empty desk in Jordanian passport control office.
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Background: Increasing tension between Syria and Jordan has reached a new peak with Syria saying that it is ready to use military force to prevent Jordan joining the Camp David peace talks. Relations between the two countries have been extremely tense since the kidnap on Friday (6 February) of Jordan's top diplomat in Lebanon from his Beirut residence.
SYNOPSIS: Security at embassies in Beirut has been stepped up considerable since the kidnapping which has served to highlight the fragile relationship between Syria and Jordan. A bitter propaganda war between the two countries took on a new ferocity with the reported arrest of a Syrian assassination squad in Jordan.
The relationship between Syria and Jordan is a cause of concern for the diplomatic community. Only a last minute change of mind by the Syrians stopped the recall of their Ambassador in Jordan, Abdel-Karim Sabbagh. Earlier it was expected that both countries would withdraw their diplomatic representatives. There was no official explanation for the change of mind.
It's on the border that the tension is most obvious. The two sides have withdrawn from a common border post on the main Damascus-Amman Highway following the Beirut kidnapping. The new separate border posts have not affected the flow of traffic between the two countries. One independent newspaper, The Middle East Reporter, has said that Syria appeared to be doing it's utmost to avoid a total break in relations with Jordan.
The major stumbling block at the moment in relations between the two is the whole question of the Camp David peace talks.
Syria's threat of military force was made in the Syrian newspaper Tishrin and included a statement to the effect that Syria "was prepared to turn the tables completely" in the region to stop King Hussein of Jordan seeking a separate peace treaty with Israel. This treaty has been referred to as the "Jordan option". In the newspaper statement Syria made it clear that it was prepared to accept the 'complications' that would follow military action.
The border dispute looks like continuing for some time and efforts by the Arab League to bring the two countries closer together have so far produced no positive results.