Smuggling must be dealt with firmly, says Jordan's King Abdullah II

Monarch visits troops near border with Syrian regime areas, source of multi-billion dollar Captagon trade

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has ordered a crackdown on smuggling Captagon into Jordan from Syrian regime areas. AP
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Smuggling of contraband from Syria must be dealt with firmly, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on Monday during a visit to military units near the border.

Jordan has become in the past three years a transit centre for Captagon trafficking from Syrian regime areas into the Arabian peninsula, and the issue has risen to the top of the national security agendas in the kingdom, as well as in the Gulf.

“Infiltration and smuggling attempts must be dealt with strongly and firmly to protect our society,” the official media quoted the king as telling troops in an identified location.

Curbing drug flows from regime areas in Syria has been a continuing Jordanian policy in the past two years, while accommodating the government of President Bashar Al Assad by reopening borders and resuming trade.

An estimated $4 billion worth of Captagon pills are smuggled from areas under the control of the Syrian regime to Jordan every year, security officials in the region say.

The Captagon crisis in the Middle East

The Captagon crisis in the Middle East

But despite Jordan's re-engagement with Mr Al Assad, there have been few signs that the volume of smuggled drugs has reduced.

The king was briefed on the latest developments on the frontier, state television said.

In January drug traffickers killed two Jordanian soldiers in an ambush in the area and fled to a Syrian regime area across the border. The military said that since then it killed 29 smugglers in operations on the border with Syria, without giving details.

Updated: June 19, 2023, 1:23 PM