Jordan incinerates 12.5 million Captagon pills

Kingdom steps up efforts to stop flow of the drug, which comes primarily from Syria

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Jordan's police have destroyed 12.5 million Captagon pills and more than two tonnes of other drugs, the kingdom's General Security Directorate said.

The announcement came as the authorities mount more operations to curb the flow of narcotics from areas in southern Syria under the control of President Bashar Al Assad, who has denied his regime's involvement in the trade.

A statement by the directorate on Wednesday said that one tonne of hashish and 1.5 tonnes of crystal meth were also destroyed in a furnace.

The drugs were seized in 1,045 cases pursued under a security strategy to prevent the entry and passage of narcotics through Jordanian territory, the directorate said.

Jordan is the main conduit for the smuggling of illegal drugs from southern Syria into the Arabian Peninsula, a trade Jordanian officials have described as a threat to the kingdom's national security.

Among the drugs that cross the borders, Captagon, an amphetamine, is the most lucrative. Pills costing less than one cent each to produce could end up being sold on the street for as much as $20 each, according to researchers who track the trade.

The Jordanian military has fortified the border with Syria with barriers, patrols and monitoring equipment, with the support of the United States and other western allies. The authorities have also launched more operations against drug dealers in the local market, as well as re-export rings.

In March, the authorities announced the destruction of 12.8 million Captagon pills.

Jordanian officials accuse the Syrian military and pro-Iran militias in southern Syria of overseeing the smuggling.

Syria's Bashar Al Assad gives rare interview

Syria's Bashar Al Assad gives rare interview

In an interview with Sky News Arabia, which was broadcast on Wednesday, Mr Al Assad denied any links to the drug trade, saying that countries that "contributed to creating chaos in Syria" are behind the activity.

He did name these countries.

"If we as a state were the ones who sought to encourage this trade in Syria, it means that we as a state were the ones who encouraged terrorists to come to Syria," Mr Al Assad said.

"Where is our interest in that?"

This week, police in Jordan seized a stash of drugs from a trade zone on the border with Syria, from where they were due to be smuggled into the kingdom, a spokesman said.

Jordan was among the Arab League members that supported Syria's readmission to the regional grouping this year, more than 11 years after it was suspended in response to the Assad government's brutal crackdown on peaceful protests against his rule.

Senior Jordanian and Syrian security officials met in Amman last month to discuss the narcotics trafficking issue, but no details of the meeting were made public.

Updated: August 10, 2023, 8:21 AM