Jordan Shifts Policy, Fearing al-Qaeda’s Growth in Syria

Likely to Cut Aid to Rebel Factions Along Border

Under heavy pressure from the US, and with an eye on regime change, the Jordanian government has long backed various Syrian rebel factions, allowing them to establish a foothold along their mutual border.

In theory this was supposed to boost US-armed factions like the Free Syrian Army (FSA), though Jordan is increasingly seeing the primary beneficiaries of this as al-Qaeda and other Islamist factions, and is looking to cut ties with the rebels and shift toward a focus on stemming Islamist growth.

“There is an opinion that after four years, Syrian rebels can no longer be counted on,” one analyst warned. Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front now controls several towns and villages near the Jordanian border.

The US isn’t entirely ready to cut ties with rebels, and is still trumpeting a scheme to create a new rebel faction, though most concede this new faction will quickly be overwhelmed by ISIS and other larger factions.

Jordan is the latest in a line of nations that originally put all their eggs into the regime change basket in Syria, only to find themselves facing growing threats from new Islamist factions that have ended up being the chief beneficiaries of this policy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of