The Jordanian government expelled Syria's ambassador on Monday for statements critical of the kingdom's support of Syrian rebels.
Jordan's state news agency, Petra News, reported that the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Sabaah Al-Rafi'i, sent a memorandum on Monday afternoon to the Syrian government declaring Ambassador Bahjat Suleiman a persona non grata and requesting that he leave within 24 hours.
The statement said the decision had come after Suleiman's "repeated insults through personal interviews and writings on social media against the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ... that did not stop despite repeated warnings that he not take advantage of Jordanian hospitality."
"His behavior contravenes all diplomatic norms and conventions," the statement added.
Suleiman, who was appointed to the post in 2009, has been steadfastly critical of Jordan's policy toward anti-government uprisings that have engulfed Syria since March 2011. He has accused the Jordanian government of providing sanctuary if not arms to the rebel fighters in cities close to the approximately 230-mile border Jordan shares with Syria.
A frequent contributor to Facebook under the pseudonym Abu al Majd, Suleiman also spoke of Jordan being forced into giving support for the rebels via an "International Operations Room," a logistics and armament hub reputedly staffed by the
Yet Jordan has remained a reluctant supporter of the rebels in the southern Syrian provinces of Dara and the Ghouta areas, vital strategic areas about 70 miles from Damascus, the seat of power of Syrian President
The rebels in that region, considered to be more moderate and more cohesive than the factions operating in the northern swaths of the country, bitterly complain of arm shipments that are held up for months by Jordanian intelligence and a level of access to the border that falls far short of that enjoyed by fighters on the border with Turkey.
On Monday, Suleiman launched a broadside against what he called plans to establish a "security belt" on the southern Syrian border as a prelude to an attack on Damascus, orchestrated by "Uncle Sam and his lackeys." There have been no announced plans for any such security cordon.
He also accused Arab governments of colluding with Israel, using the
Like other countries in the region, Jordan has been hit hard by the Syrian civil war, with more than 600,000 Syrian refugees streaming across many unofficial border points from the province of Dara and into sprawling refugee camps. Although some argue the refugees have partially invigorated Jordan's ailing economy, their effect on the country's scant resources has spurred local commentators to call for a complete closure of the borders.