The United States and the United Kingdom have, in coordinated actions, targeted illicit trade in the amphetamine Captagon. Sale of the drug, produced in Syria and often trafficked through Lebanon, supports the regime of Syrian president Bashar al Assad.
In the US, the designations are made by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury pursuant to the Caesar Act and Executive Orders 13572 and 13582, all of which form part of the Syria sanctions regime, and Executive Order 13224, which enables the blocking of property and transactions with persons involved in terrorism.
Among those designated are:
- Syrian businessman Khalid Qaddour, for his support of Maher al Assad, who heads a division of the Syrian Arab Army, is the brother of Bashar al Assad’s, and was designated by OFAC in 2011 ;
- Samer Kamal al Assad and Wassim Badi Al Assad, two cousins of the Syrian president, for overseeing key Captagon production facilities along the Syria-Lebanon border and for playing a leading role in paramilitary activities under the Syrian Arab Army;
- Hassan Muhammad Daqqou, a dual Syrian-Lebanese national known for his links to drug trafficking operations, and several companies controlled by him, for their role in supporting Hizballah;
- A Lebanese arms dealing with ties to Hizballah and the Syrian Arab Army’s Fourth Division, and;
- Imad Abu Zureik, the head of a militia affiliated with Syrian Military Intelligence (“SMI”), a designated entity. Zureik is said to operate protection rackets and enable drug smuggling into Jordan. He is being designated for acting on behalf of SMI.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.