(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Recent reports of a gun battle between Jordanian and Syrian soldiers along the northern border are false, the government said on Saturday, but there have been occasions when border guards fired warning shots.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Samih Maaytah told The Jordan Times over the phone that the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) is only tasked with protecting the border against incursions and protecting Syrian refugees after they arrive in the Kingdom.
The border guards respond to fire from the other side of the border by firing warning shots in the air and are under no orders to engage in cross-border combat, the government spokesperson said, stressing that there has been no fighting between the Jordanian and Syrian armies.
"Everything you read or hear in the media about clashes between the two armies is exaggerated and pure fabrication," Maaytah said. "The gunshots heard by the inhabitants living near the northern border were fired by Syrian army personnel at Syrian refugees trying to cross onto our side of the border."
He did not rule out the possibility that the Syrian military and the rebel militias known as the Free Syrian Army had exchanged fire near the border, but insisted that there has been no direct exchange of gunfire between Jordanian and Syrian soldiers.
Last week, foreign and local media reported a heavy exchange of fire between the JAF and the Syrian army at the border. The reports were supported by accounts from local citizens, who added that they had seen heavy reinforcements mobilised to the scene. However, the incident took place at dawn and no eyewitness could say for certain that it was the JAF who were clashing with the Syrians.
Maaytah urged the media to verify facts before reporting, stressing that Jordan's position in support of a peaceful political solution to the Syrian conflict has not changed.