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Syria Kurds seize over two million captagon pills in record drug bust

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Kurdish security forces in northeastern Syria said Tuesday they had seized more than two million captagon pills smuggled in from surrounding areas, their biggest such bust to date.

The Asayish security forces said 438 kilograms (966 pounds) had been seized, equivalent to 2,570,580 pills.

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“This is the biggest captagon bust in northeastern Syria,” a security official told AFP.

The pills were smuggled into Kurdish-held territory from areas to the west.

“They were professionally concealed in construction materials such as granite, basalt and ceramics,” Asayish officials said during a press conference.

A security official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the shipment was seized from a warehouse in Qamishli, the autonomous Kurdish administration’s de-facto capital.

The shipment was to be transported to neighboring Iraq, the official said. Its final destination was not clear.

The bust was the latest in a series of operations targeting captagon shipments from neighboring areas held by rebel or government forces, the official said.

Captagon was one of the brand names for the amphetamine-type stimulant fenethylline and is now manufactured illegally, mostly in Lebanon and Syria.

The pill is consumed by a wide variety of users, mostly in Gulf countries.

According to a European Union-funded report by the Center for Operational Analysis and Research, “captagon exports from Syria reached a market value of at least $3.46 billion” in 2020.

Seizures have continued to rise and, according to an AFP count, close to 50 million pills have been seized across the region since the start of the year.

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