The Jordanian-Syrian Joint Committee convened its inaugural meeting to enhance collaboration in combating drug smuggling across the Syrian border into Jordan, as reported by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.
The meeting, held on Sunday, was chaired by General Ali Mahmoud Abbas, the Syrian regime’s Minister of Defense, and attended by Major General Hossam Luka, Director of General Intelligence, representing Syria. From the Jordanian side, Major General Yousef Huneiti, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Major General Ahmed Hosni, Director of General Intelligence, participated in the gathering.
The focus of the meeting, the specific location of which was not disclosed, centred on joint efforts to address “the threat of drugs, including their sources of production and smuggling, and the entities responsible for organizing, managing, and executing cross-border smuggling activities into Jordan.”
The primary objective of this gathering was to curtail the escalating drug trade along the shared border, which has led to violent skirmishes primarily attributed to “pro-Iranian factions controlling southern Syria.”
This meeting followed a commitment made by Syria’s neighbours during the Amman meeting in May, where they received a “pledge” from the Syrian regime to cooperate in curbing the flourishing drug trade, in return for support in ending its pariah status.
At the time of writing, the Syrian regime has not officially commented on the meeting.
Despite various countries’ efforts to normalize relations with the Syrian regime and reintegrate it into its Arab surroundings, drug smuggling operations from areas controlled by the Syrian regime to Arab countries continue unabated.
On April 14, Bob Menendez, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, labelled Bashar al-Assad as “a war criminal, running a drug state, in short.” He expressed criticism on Twitter regarding the Arab countries’ efforts to normalize relations with the regime, asserting that such actions overlook the regime’s violations and that the persistence of drug trafficking poses a threat to regional societies.
Drugs are an economic pillar
According to reports from specialized sources and journalistic investigations, there is evidence indicating the involvement of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s family and close regime associates in networks engaged in manufacturing drugs and exporting them from Syria to other countries.
In a December 2021 investigation published by The New York Times, it was revealed that the Fourth Division of the Syrian regime forces, led by Maher al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad’s younger brother, is responsible for the production and export of Captagon. Additionally, the trade in this narcotic is facilitated by businessmen with close ties to the regime, Hezbollah, and other members of the Assad family.
The COAR Center for Analysis and Research issued a study in late April 2021, highlighting that Syria has become a global center for Captagon production, and its manufacturing capabilities have become more industrialized and technologically advanced than ever before.
According to a COAR study in 2020, Syria’s exports of Captagon alone reached a staggering amount of more than $3.46 billion.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.