World News

EU targets Syrian president’s household over amphetamine enterprise

The European Union on Monday slapped sanctions on a number of Syrians, together with members of President Bashar Assad’s household, accusing them of constructing and trafficking an amphetamine that enriches and helps to prop up the regime.

Asset freezes and journey bans have been imposed on 25 individuals and eight “entities” — most of them firms — at a gathering of EU international ministers in Luxembourg.

“The majority of right this moment’s designations goal people and entities chargeable for the manufacturing and trafficking of narcotics, notably Captagon,” a press release stated.


“The commerce in amphetamine has change into a regime-led enterprise mannequin, enriching the interior circle of the regime and offering it with income that contributes to its potential to keep up its insurance policies of repression towards the civilian inhabitants,” it added.

Experts say Captagon is primarily produced in Syria and neighboring Lebanon, the place packages containing thousands and thousands of capsules are smuggled into Gulf international locations, Europe and elsewhere.


A Lebanese safety official holds a single confiscated Captagon capsule in his hand on July 21, 2022. The European Union imposed sanctions on a number of Syrians for allegedly producing and smuggling the drug. (JOSEPH EID/AFP by way of Getty Images)

The commerce allegedly has robust ties to Assad and his associates, in addition to the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon, a key ally.

According to British estimates, the Captagon business is price $57 billion to Assad, and has been a significant income with Syria’s battle now in its thirteenth yr. Assad’s brutal crackdown on protests in 2011 led to his international isolation. His forces have been accused of torture, bombing civilian infrastructure, and utilizing chemical weapons with help of allies Russia and Iran.

The EU additionally imposed sanctions on personal safety firms working in Syria and folks working for them. “These firms additionally act as shell firms for regime-affiliated militias and help them although actions such because the recruitment of members,” the assertion stated.

The bloc’s Syria sanctions now embrace 322 individuals and 81 entities.

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