September 29, 2018 / 7:04 AM / 19 days ago

Syria says to reopen important Nassib crossing with Jordan on October 10

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian state media said on Saturday the major Nassib border crossing with Jordan would reopen on October 10, three years after the trade route was captured by rebels and closed.

The closure of the crossing in 2015 cut an important transit route for hundreds of trucks a day transporting goods between Turkey and the Gulf, and Lebanon and the Gulf.

Syrian forces restored control over the route in July.

The latest Syrian statement corrected an earlier one saying the restoration of the movement of trucks and goods through the crossing had already begun.

The Jordanian government had denied that assertion, saying the two sides were still studying the reopening of the border between the two countries.

“Jaber Nassib crossing is still closed. It hasn’t reopened yet for movement of goods and passengers,” an official statement quoted Jordanian government spokeswoman Joumana Ghonaimat as saying.

Billions of dollars in annual trade moved through the crossing, in southern Syria, before fighting started in 2011 and its closure has hit the economy of Syria and its neighbours.

Following the official denial by Amman, Syrian state media ran a new statement by the transportation ministry saying that “logistic preparations to reopen the crossing are now complete, so that the Nassib border crossing with Jordan will reopen on the tenth of October and start receiving truck and transit traffic.”

The Jordanian government, in its statement, did not set a specific date for an opening.

Lebanon’s economy minister told Reuters in July the crossing was “a vital artery” for the Lebanese economy.

The Syrian government has recovered control of most of the country with the help of its Russian and Iranian allies.

Syrian forces of President Bashar al Assad are seen in the Nassib border crossing with Jordan in Deraa, Syria July 6, 2018. Hezbollah Media/Handout via Reuters

Reporting by Dahlia Nehme, Kinda Makieh from Damascus, Suleiman Khalidi from Amman; Editing by Andrew Bolton

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