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US readies strategy to target Syria’s Captagon trade

In the coming weeks, the Biden administration will submit to Congress an interagency plan to tackle the Syrian regime's multi-billion-dollar drug business.
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 will soon release a congressionally mandated strategy to stem the flow of Captagon, an illegal amphetamine driving much of the debate over whether Syria’s neighbors should re-engage with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.  

Twelve years after the country descended into bloody civil war, Syria has emerged as the global hub for Captagon. Western officials say the highly addictive drug has become a main source of revenue for the regime, helping fill its coffers in the face of broad economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its European allies. 

Authorities across the Middle East and southern Europe have seized billions of dollars' worth of Captagon in recent years that they say originated from government-controlled parts of Syria. It is then typically smuggled overland to Jordan before making its way to the Gulf, where it is widely used recreationally among young people. 

An estimated 80% of the world’s Captagon supply is now produced in Syria, where Western officials say Assad’s relatives and associates have created a lucrative illicit enterprise with the help of the Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon and Iran-backed militias. 

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