A Jordanian security official has accused elements of the Syrian military of being involved in smuggling drugs across the Syrian border into Jordan, as the region’s drug trafficking problem continues to grow.
According to the local Jordanian Al-Ghad newspaper, Brigadier General Ahmed Hashem Khalifat, the Director of the Jordanian army’s Border Security Directorate, stated that “Undisciplined forces from the Syrian army are cooperating with drug smugglers and their gangs, which have become organised.”
The drug traffickers and organised gangs in Syria “are supported by these forces and their security services, besides the militias of Hezbollah and Iran deployed in southern Syria,” Khalifat said.
The official revealed that the smuggling of narcotics across the border into Jordan had increased significantly over the past year, with border guards seizing over 19 million Captagon pills, around 500,000 cannabis chunks, and five bags of other narcotics pills from the beginning of 2022 till the beginning of May. That was in comparison to almost 14 million Captagon pills and 15,000 cannabis chunks being caught during the same period last year.
The Jordanian army and border guards are set to deploy more advanced efforts to tackle the smuggling operations, with Khalifat announcing that “We are planning to use armed aircrafts with no pilot to deter drug smuggling and armed infiltration on the northern and eastern borders, besides using drones to monitor the borderline in the northern region.”
When the wide-scale trafficking of narcotics throughout the Levant, the Gulf and the Mediterranean regions skyrocketed a few years ago, many initially thought that the terror group, Daesh, was responsible for their production and distribution.
It was later discovered, however, that the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad and its affiliated militias produce the drugs and carry out smuggling operations across the Middle East and Europe in an effort to procure funds and circumvent international sanctions. Now, Jordanian army officers and officials such as Khalifat have recently been confirming the Assad regime’s involvement in the illegal trade.