Flights to resume between Jordan and Syria

Commercial flights will resume between Amman and Damascus on Sunday after being suspended for nine years due to Syria’s civil war, Jordanian authorities said.

The resumption of the flights by national carrier Royal Jordanian Airlines was announced after a meeting between officials from the two countries, the official Petra news agency reported.

Petra said a Syrian ministerial delegation was in Amman for talks aimed at strengthening bilateral economic cooperation between the neighbours.

Royal Jordanian operated two flights a day to Syria — one to Damascus and one to the northern city of Aleppo — until July 2012, when it suspended services as an anti-government uprising escalated into full-blown war, placing air traffic at risk.

“Royal Jordanian will resume its flights to Syria from Sunday on condition that it respects health measures” to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, Jordan’s Transport Minister Wajih Azayza said in a statement on Tuesday.

Passengers from Syria would be required to present a negative Covid-19 test undertaken within 72 hours of their flight, in addition to being tested on arrival in Amman, he said.

The Syrian delegation travelled to Amman on Monday via the Jaber-Nassib crossing, which has been closed to traffic for two months due to renewed violence in southern Syria.

The crossing, which is the main one between the two countries, would be reopened to the public on Wednesday, according to Petra.

The moves come after energy ministers from Amman, Damascus, Cairo and Beirut reached an agreement this month for the delivery of Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity via Syria to crisis-hit Lebanon, despite US sanctions against the Syrian government.

The United Nations says Jordan is hosting around 650,000 Syrian refugees, while the kingdom puts the number at 1.3 million.