Lebanon to Issue New Legislations on Combating Captagon Smuggling

Captagon pills that were seized at the Iraqi-Syrian border on March 1. (AFP)
Captagon pills that were seized at the Iraqi-Syrian border on March 1. (AFP)
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Lebanon to Issue New Legislations on Combating Captagon Smuggling

Captagon pills that were seized at the Iraqi-Syrian border on March 1. (AFP)
Captagon pills that were seized at the Iraqi-Syrian border on March 1. (AFP)

Lebanon’s caretaker government is preparing to issue new legislations that would designate Captagon narcotic pills as an illegal substance.

The current legislations describe Captagon as a stimulant and the penal laws on the smuggling of drugs do not apply to it.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati chaired on Thursday a security and legal meeting dedicated to combating drug smuggling from Lebanon.

The meeting was attended by Justice Minister Henri Khoury, Defense Minister Maurice Slim, Finance Minister Youssef Khalil, Interior Minister Bassam al-Mawlawi, Public Works and Transportation Minister Ali Hamieh, Agriculture Minister Abbas al-Hajj Hassan, head of the Internal Security Forces Imad Othman, State Security chief Tony Saliba and several security, military and customs officials.

Ministerial sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meeting was held after the growing number of complaints from Arab countries over the ongoing smuggling of Captagon to their territories from Lebanon. The illicit operations have strained Lebanon’s relations with Arab countries, significantly Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon has intensified its efforts to crack down on the smuggling, with authorities busting dozens of operations, confiscating millions of Captagon pills and arresting several suspects. They have also destroyed the majority of Captagon factories in Lebanon.

The factories that produce massive amounts of the narcotic are mainly located on the Syrian-Lebanese border and specifically on the Syrian side of the border.

General Secretary of the council of ministers Judge Mahmoud Makkieh stressed before the gatherers “the need to issue new legislations to intensify the fight against drugs and illicit substances and to prevent their smuggling aboard,” revealed the sources.

Hamieh asked: “Where are such massive quantities of Captagon in Lebanon coming from? Are the factories here enough to manufacture such an amount and smuggle them abroad, given that the security and military forces and customs authorities have succeeded in confiscating millions of these pills?”

He was informed that the drugs were being smuggled to Lebanon and abroad from there. They were also being smuggled from Syria, prompting several of the ministers to demand that the Captagon file be included in the agenda of ministerial meetings that could be held in Damascus.

The question remains, will Lebanon’s officials dare to be frank with Syrian officials with the evidence that the massive quantities of Captagon are in fact being smuggled from Syria to Lebanon? How will Damascus respond to Lebanon’s demand for cooperation in combating the smuggling to its territories and from there to Arab countries?



Clashes Escalate in Sudan’s North Darfur

Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
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Clashes Escalate in Sudan’s North Darfur

Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)

Clashes renewed on Monday between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in several locations in North Darfur, while each side claimed to have inflicted the other with heavy losses in lives and military equipment.

Eyewitnesses said fierce ground clashes took place early in the morning in the vicinity of El Fasher, and around the Zarq and Um Baar areas, which are controlled by the RSF.

Meanwhile, residents fear counter-attacks following threats launched by several RSF leaders, who vowed to strongly respond to the killing of Ali Yagoub Gibril, one of their senior commanders during a battle in the besieged north Darfur city of El Fasher last Friday.

Social media accounts affiliated with the RSF posted videos showing violent clashes that took place Monday in the Um Baar area.

The video also showed destroyed military and armored vehicles of the army and the armed movements backing it.

Since the outbreak of fighting in Sudan, the RSF has pushed large numbers of its forces to capture the town of El Fasher. The city is the army's last stronghold in the western Darfur region.

On Sunday, RSF commander Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, also known as Hemedti, blamed the escalation in El Fasher on armed factions “that have abandoned neutrality and chosen to side with their slaughterer.”

A resident of El Fasher said the Eid Al-Adha celebrations were completely absent, and that many residents did not leave their homes to perform religious rituals for fear of bombs targeting residential neighborhoods.