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EU slaps Captagon sanctions on relatives of Syria's Assad

The European Union adopted new restrictive measures today against Syrian individuals and entities accused of trafficking narcotics and supporting the oppressive Syrian government.
SANA/AFP via Getty Images

PARIS — The council of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg imposed on Monday sanctions on 25 individuals and eight entities in Syria it holds responsible for the production and trafficking of narcotics, notably Captagon.

The individuals sanctioned include Wasim Badi al-Assad, Samer Kamal al-Assad, Mudar Rifaat al-Assad, all cousins of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Others sanctioned include Lebanese nationals, arms smuggler Nouh Zaitara, and Hassan Dekko known as “the king of Captagon”.

The entities included in the category of supporting state oppression include for instance the al-Areen Foundation, directed by First Lady Asma al-Assad. This alleged charity group is accused of being closely affiliated with Syrian militias and supporting the goals of the government. Private security companies operating in Syria, such as Al-Jabal Security and Protection, Castle for Security and Protection and Aman for Protection and Security were also sanctioned for their roles in oppressing the Syrian people. According to the EU, these entities also act as shell companies for pro-government militias. 

Finally, the Russian engineering company Stroytransgaz, currently controlling Syria’s largest phosphate mines, is accused of benefitting from and supporting the Syrian government.

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