Syria: Key Crossing Open

The Nassib border crossing, a crucial trade corridor on the Damascus-Amman highway, is set to reopen following three years’ closure. Syrian government forces retook the strategic point from Sunni rebel groups on 6 July as part of their campaign to recapture territory on the southern frontier.

Taken by the Free Syrian Army and Al-Nusra Front in April 2015, the closure effectively cut off Jordan, the West Bank and to a lesser extent the Gulf from overland trade from the north. In doing so, it also placed immense pressure on Syrian and Lebanese exporters.

Prior to 2015, Lebanese truckers would embark on the five-hour Beirut-Amman trek despite the ongoing civil war, but when the crossing closed, it stymied exports. Customs data show that export volumes at the Masnaa crossing on the Beirut-Damascus highway fell from $495mn in 2014 to $103mn in 2016—a key reason why total Lebanese exports declined by $600mn over this period. Trade in perishable agricultural goods was particularly affected. (CONTINUED - 334 WORDS)