US House of Representatives passes Syria Captagon Act

US House of Representatives passes Syria Captagon Act
3 min read
21 September, 2022
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to counter production and trade in Syria of the drug Captagon, which is increasingly being smuggled to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Syria has become the world's biggest producer of Captagon [Getty]

The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday targeting the production and trafficking of the drug Captagon in Syria.

"My bill to disrupt and dismantle narcotics production and trafficking and affiliated networks linked to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria passed the House today," wrote US Congressman French Hill on his Twitter page.

"The Assad regime in Syria is now becoming a narco-state… the current epicentre of the drug trade is in territory controlled by Assad’s regime," Hill said in a speech before the House of Representatives.

The bill – officially titled H.R. 6265 Captagon Act – was proposed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the end of July.

It needs Senate approval to become law.

The law is meant to treat the production and trafficking of Captagon in Syria as a threat to the US also.

"Captagon has already reached Europe and it is only a matter of time until it reaches our shores, and despite this, only last week the State Department and the White House failed to include Syria in their required decisions on the transit of major drugs and major illicit drug-producing countries," said Hill.

The production of Captagon, an amphetamine stimulant, increased significantly in Syria during the conflict in the country, which began in 2011 when the Assad regime brutally suppressed protests against its rule.

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Authorities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and beyond have become increasingly frustrated with the Captagon trade, with intricate networks uncovered and tens of millions of pills confiscated in recent years.

Jordan – a transit point for the amphetamine since it reopened its borders with Syria – has seen violence on its northern frontier and an explosion in crime across the country linked to the drug.

In January, a Jordanian Army officer was killed following clashes with armed Syrian gangs, and the military has been engaged in fatal shootouts on the border. Most of the fatalities have been among Captagon smugglers.

After complaints by other countries, Lebanon promised tougher measures and have busted countless drug rings planning to smuggle the drug out of the country.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia also vowed to step up anti-Captagon smuggling measures and have confiscated millions of pills in recent months.