UK says Assad using captagon profits to continue 'campaign of terror'
The Assad regime is using profits from the captagon trade to continue its “campaign of terror on the Syrian people,” UK Minister of State for the Middle East Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon said, after the UK and US imposed sanctions on Syrian and Lebanese individuals allegedly responsible for the illicit captagon trade.
“The UK and U.S. will continue to hold the regime to account for brutally repressing the Syrian people and fueling instability across the Middle East,” the Minister added.
A statement issued by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and Lord Ahmad said “the Syrian regime is closely involved in the trade” and that “multi-billion dollar shipments leave regime strongholds such as the Port of Latakia.
“President Bashar al-Assad’s brother Maher al-Assad commands the unit of the Syrian Army facilitating the distribution and production of the drug,” the statement added.
“Trade in the drug is a financial lifeline for the Assad regime – it is worth approximately 3 times the combined trade of the Mexican cartels. The production and trafficking of captagon enriches Assad’s inner circle, militias and warlords, at the expense of the Syrian people who continue to face crippling poverty and repression at the hands of the regime,” the statement said.
It added: “The UK remains committed to supporting the Syrian people both in their quest for accountability and in providing humanitarian assistance. The UK has provided over £3.8 billion in humanitarian assistance to Syria and the region since the conflict began, our largest ever response to a single crisis.”
Below is the full list of those sanctioned by the UK as per the statement:
“Abdellatif Hamid: a prominent businessperson who utilizes his factories to package captagon pills and has been linked to the 2020 captagon seizure in Salerno, Italy
Imad Abu Zureiq: a militia leader in Southern Syria. His militia is associated with drugs smuggling as well as assassinations and kidnappings of political opponents
Mustafa Al Masalmeh: a militia leader in Southern Syria. His militia is involved in drugs production and he has been involved in assassinating opponents of the Syrian regime
Taher Al Kayali: a business magnate with links to the captagon industry. He has been tied to multiple captagon seizures, including in Europe
Amer Khiti: a Syrian politician and operates and controls multiple businesses in Syria which facilitate the production and smuggling of drugs, including captagon
Hassan Muhammad Daqqou: known as the ‘king’ or ‘emperor’ of captagon and is associated with Hezbollah. He has been linked to captagon seizures in the Middle East, Europe and South East Asia
Mohammed Shalish: involved in the shipping sector in regime strongholds and has been tied to captagon shipments which have left the port of Latakia
Raji Falhout: a militia leader in Sweida and uses his militia headquarters to facilitate captagon production
Samer Kamal Al Asad: related to the Syrian President, and is a prominent actor in the production of captagon
Waseem Badia Al Asad: related to the Syrian President and is a ‘strongman’ for the Syrian regime. He facilitates the manufacturing and smuggling of captagon
Noah Zaiter: a prominent person involved in smuggling captagon and narcotics. He is associated with the Syrian regime and Hezbollah”