New US strategy to limit Captagon production in Syria

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The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to combat drug production and trafficking and dismantle networks linked to the Assad regime in Syria.

The bipartisan bill said the Captagon trade linked to Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria is a transnational security threat, noting that the United States should develop and implement an interagency strategy to deny, degrade and dismantle the production of narcotics linked to Assad and drug trafficking networks.

The bill was introduced by Rep. French Hill and Rep. Brendan Boyle. Hill said that in addition to committing “war crimes against its own people, the Assad regime in Syria is becoming a narco-state.”

Hill pointed out that the “current epicenter” of drug trafficking is in territory controlled by the Assad regime, warning that “Captagon has already reached Europe, and it’s only a matter of time.” before it reaches our shores”.

“If we don’t work with our like-minded partners to first impede the narcotics trade and replace it with a functioning system of institutions serving the Syrian people, then Assad will add the title ‘Drug Kingpin’ to his recognized global status as a leading mass murderer,” Hill said.

The bill calls on the White House to submit the required report and strategy to Congress for consideration no later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this law.

It also notes that the administration should provide diplomatic and intelligence support to law enforcement investigations and build counter-narcotics capabilities in partner nations through assistance and training to law enforcement agencies. law enforcement in countries other than Syria that receive or transit large quantities of Captagon.

Lawmakers have urged the administration to use the sanctions regime, including Caesar sanctions, to target individuals and entities directly or indirectly associated with the Assad regime’s narcotics infrastructure.

The strategy includes “mobilizing a public communications campaign to raise awareness of the extent of the link between the Assad regime and the illicit narcotics trade.”

The text calls for a full description of countries receiving or transiting large shipments of Captagon and an assessment of those countries’ counternarcotics capacity to interdict or disrupt Captagon smuggling, including an assessment of current anti-narcotics programs. assistance and training from the United States to build such power in such countries.

– Previous press

Congress has increased its pressure on President Joe Biden’s administration to address the Captagon issue. Senior Republican officials on the Foreign Relations Committees have called on the White House to submit a detailed report to Congress on the Syrian president’s role in trafficking Captagon.

US Senator Jim Risch and Representative Michael McCaul sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the role of the Assad regime in drug trafficking, warning that Jordan is under increasing threat from the flow of Captagon across its borders, has had several dangerous skirmishes with drug traffickers on its border with Syria.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, also under assault from Syrian Captagon streams, has been forced to increase security resources for interdiction efforts,” the letter read.

In July, a group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers called on the US administration to consider whether Syria met the criteria of a “major illicit drug-producing country” or a “major drug transit country” under the Security Act. foreign assistance.

In a letter to Blinken, Rep. Hill, Sen. Roger Marshall, and Rep. Brendan Boyle warned that in addition to its gross human rights abuses and routinely committing war crimes against its people, the regime of Assad in Syria has now become a narco-state.

“The production and trade of the drug, Captagon, is not only an essential financial lifeline for Assad, but it cripples local populations, serves to undermine local families and communities, and funds Iranian-backed groups In the region.”

Lawmakers called on the US government to do everything in its power to disrupt the industrial level of drug production in Syria.

“This includes the signing of my bill for an inter-agency strategy and the State Department’s determination that Syria is a significant drug manufacturing and transit country,” reads the letter, warning that “if we do not act, we risk authorizing the drug trafficker”. -the state of Assad becomes a permanent feature in the region.”


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