Captagon News

On September 14, police authorities in Dubai seized a shipment containing 86 million captagon tablets with an estimated street value of USD 1 billion. 
Amid limited progress in the normalisation with Damascus, two recent meetings between Yemeni and Syrian officials seem to signal Yemen’s bid to bolster a rapprochement process stalled since Damascus’ return to the Arab League in May.
On the occasion of recent protests in Suweida, the following is a background on Suweida, its demographics, geography, and the state of government and private investments in the governorate.
The Biden administration recently published a written strategy outlining aspects of its interagency plan to intercept and dismantle “illicit captagon networks linked to the Assad regime.” The plan also includes proposals to collaborate with affected countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, which has become the biggest market for the narcotic, according to recent investigations and reports. 
While Damascus’ rapprochement with the Arab World is accelerating, the United States and members of the European Union, among which France features prominently, still claim that their policy on Syria is unchanged. However, a growing number of French analysts have reported that powerful economic lobbies are pushing the French presidential palace to restore ties with the regime in the hope that France will reap economic benefits. The recent visit by a board member of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce to Paris only lends credence to these claims.
Although Jordan is at the forefront of rapprochement efforts with the regime, its air force allegedly launched two airstrikes over southern Syrian territory, killing an infamous drug lord and destroying a drug factory. The strikes came less than a week after Damascus agreed to tackle drug trafficking on its border with Jordan and Iraq and days after Amman seized its largest captagon shipment of the year.
Recent weeks have seen an acceleration in the restoration of political and diplomatic ties between Syria and the Arab world. These moves have included visits of Bashar Al-Assad to the UAE and Oman the following day, a visit to Cairo by Syrian FM Faysal Meqdad, and reports that Saudi Arabia and Syria would soon reopen their consulates in their respective capitals.
Iran may be putting harsher conditions on its supplies of crude oil to Syria. A recent report has suggested that Tehran has doubled the price at which it sells its oil and that it is now requiring Damascus to pay in cash; these two measures would have a significant fiscal impact on the Syrian government. The reasons behind this policy move are unclear.
On December 23, U.S. President Joe Biden signed the 2023 National Defence Authorisation Act into law which includes a proposal for an interagency strategy to combat the Syrian regime’s production and trafficking of captagon and other narcotics. The Act, which was included in the USD 858 billion defence spending bill, requires several federal agencies to provide U.S. Congress with a strategy to dismantle the narcotics industry in Syria.
Recent months have confirmed the increased influence of Bashar Al-Assad and Asma Al-Assad over the country’s economy. Almost every other week, new information emerges indicating that businesspeople known for acting as fronts for the Syrian president and his wife have acquired stakes in a company or business project. With unrivalled economic power in their hands, this represents a major turn in how wealth is shared and distributed among Syria’s rulers.