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US, UK sanction 6 Syria-linked amphetamine traffickers

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BEIRUT — The U.S. and U.Okay. on Tuesday slapped sanctions on 4 Syrians and two Lebanese concerned in manufacturing and trafficking the amphetamine drug Captagon, the 2 governments stated. The six embrace cousins of Syrian President Bashar Assad and infamous Lebanese drug lynchpins.

Specialists say Captagon is primarily produced in Syria and Lebanon, the place packages containing tens of millions of tablets are smuggled into Gulf international locations, Europe and elsewhere. The commerce allegedly has robust ties to Assad and his associates, in addition to key ally, the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group in neighboring Lebanon.

The U.Okay.’s International, Commonwealth & Growth Workplace assertion asserting the sanctions stated the Captagon trade is price $57 billion to Assad, and has been a key income as Syria’ rebellion turned-conflict continues for a thirteenth 12 months. Assad’s brutal crackdown on protests in 2011 led to his world isolation, and his forces had been accused of rampant torture, bombing civilian infrastructure, and utilizing chemical weapons with assist of key allies Russia and Iran.

“Syria has turn out to be a worldwide chief within the manufacturing of extremely addictive Captagon, a lot of which is trafficked via Lebanon,” stated the U.S. Treasury’s Workplace of International Property Management director Andrea M. Gacki within the assertion.

Gacki added that the commerce’s revenues allow the federal government’s “continued repression on the Syrian folks.”

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Among the many 4 Syrians sanctioned are two cousins of Assad, Samer and Wassim. Based on the U.S. Treasury’s assertion, Samer oversees Captagon manufacturing within the northern coastal metropolis of Lattakia in coordination with Hezbollah and the Syrian military’s elite Fourth Division. In the meantime, Wassim has been described as a “key determine within the regional drug trafficking community,” whereas additionally main a paramilitary group backing the Syrian military within the battle.

In the meantime, Syrian businessman Khalid Qaddour was additionally sanctioned for his alleged involvement in managing smuggling revenues and allegedly has shut ties to President Assad’s brother Maher, who leads the Fourth Division and has allegedly profited off smuggling illicit medicine, cellphones and cigarettes. Syrian militiaman Imad Abu Zureik was additionally sanctioned for operating a militia group with ties to Syrian army intelligence within the south of the nation that the U.S. Treasury stated controls the Nassib border crossing with Jordan. Abu Zureik was a former commander with Free Syria Military opposition forces.

In Lebanon, Washington and London sanctioned infamous weapons and drug smuggler Noah Zeiter, who for years has been on the run from Lebanese authorities. Zeiter previous to the battle in Syria was identified for producing and smuggling massive quantities of hashish and made occasional bombastic media appearances. Zeiter is shut with Hezbollah and Syria’s Fourth Division.

Hassan Daqqou, a Lebanese-Syrian who the media regularly dubs “The King of Captagon,” was additionally sanctioned resulting from his hyperlinks with Hezbollah and drug trafficking operations by the Syrian military’s Fourth Division. Daqqou was arrested in Lebanon in 2021 and in 2022 was sentenced to seven years of arduous labor for producing and smuggling Captagon.

Washington and London additionally sanctioned two buying and selling corporations primarily based in japanese Lebanon that Daqqou owns.

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