Syria, Captagon trafficking center, “cocaine for the poor” – zimo news


Under the watchful eye of cameras deployed on the border between Jordan and Syria, a traditional smuggling zone in the desert, it was a peculiar ballet that Jordanian security forces have been watching for months.

“We have video proving the cooperation between drug smugglers and Syrian border guards,” Colonel Mustafa Hayari said. When Jordanian border guards opened fire, they showed smugglers taking refuge at the border crossing. Cameras captured the man arriving at the facilities in an unidentified vehicle, suspected of belonging to a militia group, flying a drug-laden drone to Jordan. Drug smuggling along the nearly 400-kilometre border has exploded since forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad reconquered southern Syria in 2018.

Fueled by the war and economic crisis that has raged in Syria since 2011, at the heart of this traffic is Captagon, an easy-to-produce and inexpensive amphetamine. “Syria has become a hub for the production of drugs, including Captagon and marijuana. The border area is a gray area, between war and peace, where traffickers and militias recruit,” Sorry Colonel Hayari.

Drug use is on the rise in the Hashemite kingdom amid soaring unemployment, but the country is mainly used as a transit route to Saudi Arabia, the main destination for Captagon trafficked from Syria. The “poor man’s cocaine” popular with Saudi youth is at least ten times more expensive there (about 15 euros per tablet).

Syria, a ‘drug state’

The phenomenon is so serious that experts describe Syria as “Drug Nation”. In a country whose economy has collapsed due to war and sanctions, the drug trade has become a major source of income. “While Captagon trafficking was once one of the sources of funding used by anti-state armed groups, the consolidation of territorial control by the Assad regime and its regional allies has made them the main beneficiaries of drug trafficking,” In a report to be published in 2021, the Cyprus-based Centre for Operations Analysis and Research (COAR) noted.

Since 2017, large-scale seizures have been made at ports in neighbouring countries (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey) and in the Gulf, as well as in Italy and Greece. The New Line Institute estimated in a study published in April that the potential value of Syria’s drug exports was more than $5.7 billion (about 5.1 billion euros), based on catches released in 2021.

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