The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SOHR exclusive | Tribal dignitaries, politicians and human rights activists denounce violations by Iranian-backed militias in Syria

In exclusive interviews with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), tribal elders and dignitaries in east Syria have commented on Iran’s presence and ongoing activities in Deir Ezzor and publicly denounced blatant violations committed by Iranian-backed militias, particularly the rampant illicit drug business.


Since its intervention in Syria under the pretext of “solving the complicated Syrian crisis,” Iran has planted agents and formed proxy militias enabling Tehran to implement its plan which is manifested in entrenching its presence across the entire Syrian geography. The Iranians in Syria have relied on producing and trafficking narcotics as a major source of income, turning several areas across Syria, mainly west Euphrates region, into hotbeds of drug business.


With the rampant captagon trade, which has provided quick financial gain to Iranian-backed militias in Deir Ezzor, as well as other Syrian areas, and its negative impact on Syrians, tribal elders and human rights activists in Deir Ezzor have warned against the worrying phenomenon of illicit drug business, appealing to SOHR to highlight this cause and raise awareness of young people living in this region about the threats which this business poses.


SOHR has stressed that narcotic business has been spread across Syria following Tehran’s decision of establishing plants and laboratories for producing illicit drugs, captagon in particular, in Deir Ezzor, the centre of Syria and Damascus, turning Syria into a drug consuming country and a corridor for the transportation of narcotics, especially with the current instable situation, invalid laws and lack efforts by state authorities to put an end to this alarming phenomenon. It is common knowledge that Iran seeks to subverting the minds of Syria young people in order to achieve its objectives.



“Be aware that this tunnel leads you to doom and destruction of the entire society”


In an exclusive interview with SOHR, the Syrian researcher and academic, Dr. Mohamed Al-Shaker says, “the regime of Mullahs (Shia’a scholars) is about to achieve its task of eliminating the national country. Turning to the new project of that regime, which is based on conversion from ‘exporting the revolution’ to exporting illicit drugs, is a war designed to directly and publicly undermine Arab powers and the constituents of their societies. Through that project, Tehran also aims at securing a major income to Iranian-backed militias which serve its narrow interests.”



“Drug promotion is one of techniques practiced by Iran in all contested and fought over areas and effective method to lure young people”


Commenting on the rampant phenomenon of illicit drug trafficking in Deir Ezzor, the vice-president of Syria Democratic Council (SDC), Majdouline Hassan has told SOHR, “this situation is a by-product of economical and social hardships which are manifested in the lack of job opportunities, disruption of education and schooling, deteriorating security situation, poverty and systematic impoverishment. Statistics indicate to a growing rate of narcotics abusing throughout Syria, where the conflicting powers in specific areas, especially in Deir Ezzor, exploit the dire living conditions of Syrian civilians to spread illicit drugs and undermine the Syrian society. Iranian-backed militias which are stationed in Deir Ezzor have tried every possible way to drive young people to drug abusing, so that the Iranians can impose their predominance. Drug promotion is one of the techniques practiced by Iran in all conflict zones it has engaged in, whether in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, and it is an effective method to lure young people to join Iran’s affiliated formation and serve its narrow interests.”



On the other hand, a dignitary from Al-Weldah tribe in Deir Ezzor, Sheikh Laurence Al-Barsan has told SOHR, “the role of dignitaries and elders regarding the cooperation with residents is manifested in releasing awareness-raising campaigns, monitoring children, countering immoral practices through persuasion, filling spare times of young people by encouraging them to participate in sport and cultural activities and securing vocational training centres, so that people, who had dropped out of schools, can find work. This generation of Syrians endured injustice twice; the first time was the robbing of their rights to attain education, because of several obstacles. While the second time is manifested in depriving Syrians from practicing their normal life and work. Accordingly, many attempted to flee from such unpleasant situations by joining armed groups. Be aware that this tunnel, which you have chose, leads you to doom and the destruction of the entire society. Take care of your parents and brothers, help them and never make them shoulder extra burdens because of your unwise decisions or be a source of disturbance for them.”


“Recently, the top priority has been manifested in proceeding with all national and local paths to put an end to Iranian presence and exert pressure on Iranian-backed militias to leave the areas which they totally dominate. So, we have to focus our efforts on eliminating this pest, before enslaving the region’s people and driving them to evil agendas that these militias had set, especially since the Syrian regime has conferred legitimacy on Iran’s presence in Syria. Also, we have to intensify our efforts to monitor the areas where these militias communicate with each other, in order to put an end to drug trafficking and adopt strict measures against dealers and abusers,” says Laurence Al-Barsan.



In an exclusive interview with SOHR, a dignitary from Al-Sabkhah Al-Sha’baniyah tribe, Sheikh Mohamed Turkey Al-Saw’aan says, “Iran works on entrenching its presence in Syria and proceed with its project, exploiting the war which has been still raging for 11 years. Iran cited the protection of the Syrian regime from being defeated as an excuse to engage into the Syrian crisis. Moreover, Tehran represented Damascus in many meetings with Ankara and Moscow. Not only have the Iranians occupied Syrian territory, but also they have been promoting for “Shi’aism” proselytising operations (conversion to Shiite) and looting Syria’s resources and wealth.”


“Tehran established plants and laboratories for producing illicit drugs, captagon in particular, in Deir Ezzor, the centre of Syria and Damascus. Accordingly, drug business run by Iranian-backed militias has been strewn everywhere across Syria, turning Syria into a drug consuming country and a corridor for the transportation of narcotics. Meanwhile, absence of law and deterrence has exacerbated the situation further. It is common knowledge that Iran seeks to subverting the minds of Syria young people in order to achieve its objectives. As of today, we will not allow Syria to be turned into a hotbed of drug trafficking, as the prevalence of narcotics enables the Iranians to recruit a large number of civilians, mainly children and minors.”


Al-Saw’aan has called upon young people in the area not to follow Iranian-backed militias that seek to wreak havoc and violence. He says, “Iranian-backed militias seek to entrench their presence in Deir Ezzor city and countryside through recruiting young people, exploiting the deteriorating security situation and poor financial abilities, as well as continuous usage of religion and sectarianism. Campaigns of recruitment are directed to all segments of Syrian society as a part of reprehensible attempt to lure the region’s inhabitants; this enables the Iranians to impose their military and financial influence and predominance.


In earlier reports, SOHR highlighted details about the production and trafficking of narcotics in areas dominated by Iranian-backed militias in Deir Ezzor. Here are the links of those reports:


We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, call upon everyone affected by drug business in areas by Iranian-backed militias in Deir Ezzor and those who have fallen victim to their practices to share and tell off their stories by sending messages to SOHR’s social media pages.