Available for the rich | Iran peddles crystal meth in all zones of influence in Syria
SOHR calls for putting an end to Iran’s violations against civilians
With the large number of narcotic-manufacturing labs in the four zones of influence across Syria: (1) regime-controlled areas, (2) areas controlled by the “Autonomous Administration in northern and north-eastern Syria,” (3) areas administrated by the “Salvation Government” and (4) areas administrated by the “Interim Government,” Syria has topped the list of countries producing and smuggling drugs throughout the Arab world. The largest number of these laboratories are located in regime-controlled areas, and most of them are run by the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias. These labs produce considerable amounts of drugs, mainly captagon and crystal meth.
On the other hand, Iranian-backed militias continue to bring in new types of illicit drugs to Syria where they sell them. Also, large amounts of these narcotics are smuggled to neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, especially since Syria has become a hotbed for the rampant drug business with Iranian-backed militias continuing to exploit the escalating security chaos and the dreadful living conditions of civilians in regime-controlled areas.
Although there are plants for producing illicit drugs in different zones of influence in Syria, such as “Euphrates Shield” area and “Peace Spring” area which are under the control of Turkish-backed factions and the “Interim Government,” specific types of narcotics are available only in areas controlled by the Syrian regime and its proxy factions. It is worth noting that raw materials needed for manufacturing these types are brought from Iran, via Iraq, by drug dealers and collaborators dealing with Iranian-backed militias in Syria and in cooperation with pro-regime influential figures and officers.
The most prominent and dangerous type of illicit drugs which is readily available in regime-controlled areas is “ice,” aka “crystal meth” or “H-bose,” an illicit methamphetamine-type substance. The Iranian-made crystal meth is known as the “rich-people drug” because of its very high price, where the price of a gram ranges from 12 up to 20 USD.
After “ice” is manufactured, mostly in primitive labs located in different areas across regime-controlled areas, it is smuggled to other zones of influence, such as areas under the control of Turkish-backed factions and SDF-controlled areas.
SOHR sources have confirmed that crystal meth is delivered to areas under the control of Turkish-backed factions in north Syria region through routes used for smuggling from regime-controlled areas and SDF-controlled areas in coordination with smugglers and military commanders of all actors in Syria.
Observatory sources have also reported that crystal meth abusing is confined to commanders of factions and military formations operating in this zone, such as the military police, security service in charge of Bab Al-Salama crossing, Ahrar Al-Sharqiyah, “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” and Sultan Murad Division, because of its high price which is unaffordable by militiamen and civilians.
In SDF-controlled areas, the price of a gram of “ice” ranges between 60,000 and 100,000 SYP, equivalent to 15 and 25 USD, and it is also smuggled from regime-controlled areas through routes used for smuggling.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has been all along warning against Iranian expansion in Syria and the rampant drug business run by Iranian-backed militias which have exploited the extreme poverty and dreadful living conditions of Syrians.
SOHR also vows to continue monitoring and tracking the issue of rampant narcotic business in Syria and to disclose all implicated figures and entities with the aim of curbing this business.
We, at SOHR, address a recommendation to all actors, all Syrian tribes in Deir Ezzor in particular, to launch local campaigns for raising the awareness residents, mainly young people and minors, about the perils of drug abuse.
We also demand all international authorities to intensify their efforts to curb Iranian-backed militias’ activities in Syria and put an end to their violations against civilians.