New EU package of sanctions against Syria targets drug trafficking and the most serious human rights violations

Captagon pills hidden in 7 tons of tea boxes, confiscated in Lebanon

Captagon pills hidden in 7 tons of tea boxes, confiscated in Lebanon, © picture alliance / AA

26.04.2023 - Article

Following the joint initiative of France, the Netherlands and Germany, the European Union adopted a new package of sanctions relating to Syria on 24 April. It was decided to place 25 persons and eight companies on the EU sanctions list. Who are they and why?

First and foremost, individuals and entities that play a major role in trafficking in the drug Captagon were listed. During the last few years, Syria has become the regional hub for the production and export of Captagon. The highly addictive amphetamine has become the most commonly used synthetic drug in some countries around the region and beyond.

What is the impact of the trafficking of Captagon?

Saudi Customs seize Captagon hidden in pomegranate shipment
Saudi Customs seize Captagon hidden in pomegranate shipment© picture alliance / abaca

The trade in Captagon not only has serious effects on the health of users but also has a negative impact on security in the region. What is particularly perfidious is that the Syrian regime is embroiled on a massive scale in Captagon trafficking and has gained considerable profit from it. Trade in the drug has become a major source of revenue for the regime. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 billion US dollars are generated each year by trafficking in Captagon. The new listings are specifically targeted against persons and companies responsible for the production and export of Captagon.

Targeting the most serious human rights violations: The Tadamon massacre in 2013

The package of sanctions is also targeted against individuals responsible for the most serious human rights violations, namely the abhorrent massacre in Tadamon in 2013. Intelligence officers committed a mass murder of women, men and children and allowed themselves to be filmed while carrying out these atrocities. Last year, the names of the perpetrators were made public, making it possible to finally list them.

In the case of this package of sanctions, the European Union ensured that the listings are targeted specifically against persons and companies, thus ensuring that they do not have any negative consequences for the general population in Syria.


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