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US and UK sanction Syrians over drug trade

US and UK sanction Syrians, including Assad's cousins, over Captagon drug trade
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The US and UK have imposed new sanctions against select Syrians, including cousins of Bashar al-Assad, over Captagon drug trading.
Counterfeit Captagon pills appear in various countries across the Middle East [source: Getty]

The United States and the United Kingdom on Tuesday imposed new sanctions against Syrians including two cousins of President Bashar al-Assad for their role in the production or export of Captagon, a dangerous amphetamine. 

It said the trade in Captagon was estimated to be a billion-dollar enterprise and the sanctions highlight the role of Lebanese drug traffickers and the Assad family dominance of Captagon trafficking, which helped fund the Syrian regime.

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"Syria has become a global leader in the production of highly addictive Captagon, much of which is trafficked through Lebanon,” said Andrea M. Gacki, director of Treasury's office of Foreign Assets Control.

"With our allies, we will hold accountable those who support Bashar al-Assad’s regime with illicit drug revenue

and other financial means that enable the regime’s continued repression of the Syrian people," she said. 

"The Assad regime is using the profits from the Captagon trade to continue their campaign of terror on the Syrian people," said Britain's Minister of State for the Middle East Tariq Ahmad.

"The UK and US will continue to hold the regime to account for brutally repressing the Syrian people and fuelling instability across the Middle East."