Foreign Correspondent on ABC
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Foreign Correspondent on ABC TV – A billion-dollar illegal drug trade is funding the Syrian regime under President Bashar al-Assad.  This week on Foreign Correspondent insiders detail the vast extent of the drug trade and how members of the president’s family and the Syrian Armed Forces are facilitating it.

Captagon – described as the “poor man’s cocaine” – is a highly addictive drug popular amongst young people in the Middle East. Despite massive efforts by the Jordanian and Lebanese armies to stop Captagon being smuggled across their borders, the drug is being found in Europe, Africa and Asia. 

This investigation shows how Syrian soldiers are becoming drug dealers to supplement poor wages and are being protected by the country’s elite army unit, the Fourth Division. This unit is led by Maher al-Assad, the younger brother of the President Assad.

Syria has effectively become a narco state. According to a former US special envoy to Syria the scale of the revenues from illegal drug trafficking dwarfs the Syrian state budget. “If Captagon revenues were stopped or seriously disrupted, I don’t think the Assad regime could survive that,” he said.

Foreign Correspondent on ABC TV and ABC iview – Thursday 28 September at 8.00pm.

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