Amid war, drug market flourishes in northern Syria

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ARA News

Amude, Syria – Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) launched last week a campaign of arrests against who it called “drug dealers and addicts” in the city of Amude, northeast of Syria. More than 30 persons were arrested after being accused of involvement in drug dealing, and the majority of them were later proven innocent are accordingly released. However, few of the arrested were found guilty and transferred to YPG-held prisons outside Amude.

A source close to the YPG forces told ARA News: “The raid of arrests targeted drug dealers and addicts to delimit this phenomenon. All addicts were released after arresting the real drug dealers who were moved to prisons outside Amude.”

S.H.Q. , one of the drug dealers and addicts in Amude (who preferred not mentioning his full name), told ARA News: “This trade became widely spread during the crisis in the Syrian northeastern areas due to the security vacuum, and was accompanied with addiction among young men as there is no inspection from the competent authorities.”

“Weed fields spread in many villages of Hasaka province as well as the houses’ yards. A broad network of traffickers deal with the current authorities that provide many facilities and disregard such fields, as it is good business. However, they (Kurdish YPG and Assayish forces) start raids of arrests when they have disputes with drug dealers,” S.H.Q. told ARA News.

“A portion of the vintage is sold locally, but the biggest amounts are smuggled into Turkey where the prices are higher, as well as Lebanon and Iraq.”

Ahmad, a resident of Amude, told ARA News: “The measures taken by the institutions of the Self-Administration (in northern Syria, led by the Democratic Union Party PYD) of changing the schools’ names, giving warrants of motorcycles and lately arresting drug dealers are all for the welfare of our society.”

Speaking to ARA News, H.Sh. , another resident of Amude, said: “I am not optimistic with these measures as most drug dealers are protected by the YPG itself and will return to such trade when released.

Meanwhile, recent reports talked about prevalence of networks of drug dealers in the Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside.

According to anti-drug international organizations, drugs are a universal problem and the most prosperous business at times of war and political crisis. Many humanitarian organizations interested in rehabilitating addicts think that drugs are being used to control people easily to support certain political agendas.

There are no accurate statistics about the number of drug dealers and addicts in Syria. Moreover, there are no rehabilitation centers for the addicts or real awareness tools of drugs’ dangers.

 

Reporting by: Ferman Hussien

Source: ARA News

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