Syrian conflict and Drugs
Yesterday, along the Jordanian-Syrian border Jordanian security forces have neutralized two vehicles and killed their occupants, who were trying to smuggle in Jordan. Police have made a major drug bust (the captagon) and also discovered a large cache of weapons.
The event was largely unnoticed by the media. In fact it’s only the tip of the iceberg: the drug trade and its links with the war in Syria and Iraq. The Captagon seized could be considered as a psychostimulant drugs, whose consumption is rising in Syria since 2011.
Drug trafficking is a corollary of the Syrian conflict and all conflicts elsewhere in the world. Recall that during the Second World War, German soldiers were encouraged to take a derivative of amphetamine, « pervitin » to decrease anxiety and increase power and concentration.
Created in the 60s, the captagon was prescribed first as a drug to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression. It was subsequently banned for its high addictive capacity. Today captagon is mainly composed of amphetamine and caffeine. It’s consumed in large quantities by the belligerents involved in the war in Syria and Iraq. Since the beginning of the war, amphetamine has attracted a broader customer base: the Al-Nusra Front (Al Qaeda) and the Islamic State, which ride roughshod over the principles of Islam and draws large benefit.
A captagon pill only costs pennies to produce, it resells to the tune of 15 euros in Saudi Arabia, the leading Middle East market. But in Syria and Iraq its sale is used to finance weapons and military operations of the belligerents, which is certainly not a new phenomenon in a theatre of war. Note that in his time, Lebanon was a hotbed of drug trafficking during the civil war between 1975 and 1990.
Behind the intertwined problems of the war in Syria and the Islamic State appears the issue of IS’s funding! IS’s revenues are highly diverse : oil, trafficking in : pieces of art, drug trafficking, kidnapping & sale of slaves … thanks to the opaque private funds complicity in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
To dry up the Daesh‘s financial flows, it would be necessary to conduct police operations to seize the drugs in question. This is already practiced along the Turkish and Lebanese borders, where police seized large quantities of drugs and smuggled oil barrels. Since the beginning of the rebellion quantities of oil seizures increased by 300% at the Turkish-Syrian border
Regarding drugs, seizures have been increasing in recent months, particularly in Beirut, which has become a hub of drug trafficking to Syria.
According to a Syrian psychiatrist who treated people addicted to captagon in Latakiya governorate (Syria) « the use of doping such as captagon and other pills increased after the revolution, even among civilians who use to withstand the economic and psychological pressure due to the ongoing conflict.”
The use of captagon is in the region could be considered as a way to escape the harshness of daily life. For ultra-radical groups such as Daesh, drug consumption (forbidden by Koran)) such as captagon, is part of a reality that they have to adapt to and take the advantage of in order to continue expanding their footprints on the fragmented states of Iraq and Syria.
For consumers the captagon acts as a « medication », which allows a moment to forget the fear and anxiety of everyday life since no one knows what will happen in the future, if tomorrow there a future.