Jordan’s King Abdullah has expressed concerns about Iran and its proxies filling a vacuum left by Russians in southern Syria, warning that this could lead to issues along the borders.
He made the remarks during an interview on Wednesday at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in the United States.
In response to a question about how to approach the issues created by Iran across the region, Jordan's ruler said that "we want everybody to be part of a new Middle East and to move forward, but we do have security challenges. We're seeing border attacks on a regular basis and we know who's behind that".
He described Russia's presence in southern Syria as a "source of calm because they were making sure that we could deconflict” but as Russia is reportedly removing troops to focus on Ukraine, “that vacuum will be filled by the Iranians and their proxies, so unfortunately, we're looking at maybe an escalation of problems on our borders".
"Do the politics, the negotiations that are going on between Saudia Arabia, the [Persian] Gulf countries, the United States, does that move Iran into a more positive light? I hope so. I'm not seeing it on the ground at the moment," King Abdullah added.
According to a report by the Moscow Times, an independent Dutch-based paper, Iran forces and Lebanese group Hezbollah have taken over several Russian military bases in Syria.
Iran Diplomacy, a website close to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, says Russian forces' withdrawal from Syria, and the possibility of Iranian forces replacing them could be an indication that Moscow is trying to keep Iran in its camp.