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US outlines strategy to counter Syria's lucrative Captagon trade

The report to lawmakers details US plans to support the counter-narcotics capacity of Syria's neighbors and impose sanctions on the key drug traffickers fueling the regime's operations.

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has submitted a comprehensive report to US lawmakers detailing its interagency plan to disrupt Syria’s trade of the illegal amphetamine Captagon.

Syria's production and smuggling of the highly addictive drug has spawned a multi-billion industry, creating an alternate source of revenue for a regime battered by more than a decade of Western sanctions and a devastating war that’s killed more than half a million people.  

Congress in its annual defense policy bill required the administration to submit a written strategy to “deny, degrade, and dismantle” the Syrian regime's trafficking of Captagon, which has become the country's top export, driving much of the Arab region’s recent overtures to President Bashar al-Assad.

Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), who sponsored the original legislation requiring an interagency plan, told Al-Monitor he was pleased to see the administration release its strategy. 

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