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New US sanctions target Syria's Captagon trade linked to Assad

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on six individuals in Syria and Lebanon, including two cousins of President Bashar al-Assad, who are linked to the Syrian regime's Captagon production and export.
Seized drugs, including Captagon, are displayed for the media in the town of Marea, in the northern Aleppo countryside, on May 24, 2022, following clashes among different Turkey-backed factions in Syria. - A decade of appalling civil war has left Syria fragmented and in ruins but one thing crosses every frontline: the drug fenethylline, commercially known as captagon. The stimulant -- once notorious for its association with Islamic State fighters -- has spawned an illegal $10-billion industry that not only

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled new sanctions aimed at curbing Syria’s production and export of Captagon, an illegal amphetamine that serves as a key source of revenue for the Syrian regime.

The sanctions are the administration’s first to target Syria’s Captagon trade and also its first use of the so-called Caesar Act, a law that allows for sanctions on persons or companies that do business with the Syrian government.

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed the United States would continue targeting Syria's drug traffickers and “those who provide support to the Syrian regime’s vicious war.”

An estimated 80% of the world’s Captagon supply is produced in Syria, where the stimulant has become the war-ridden country’s main export. The UK government, which unveiled its own sanctions in coordination with the US, described the Captagon trade as a "financial lifeline" for Assad's regime. 

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