Syria (MNN) — A new report says militant groups linked to Bashar Al Assad’s regime increasingly use Europe as a drug trafficking route.
One analyst tells Euronews that Syria’s illicit Captagon dealings in the Arabian Peninsula are three times larger than the trade produced by Mexican cartels.
“The Syrian government, through Bashar Assad, is producing Captagon, ‘the poor man’s cocaine.’ It’s the drug of choice in the Middle East and North Africa,” Tom Doyle of Uncharted Ministries says.
“Right now, [Syria is] the leading producer of it, and that’s how the government is making money.”
Meanwhile, “people working normal jobs are not making enough money to sustain themselves. Someone we know who is an engineer in Syria is being paid $7 a month,” Doyle says.
“The bus that takes him to work costs more than $7.”
This summer, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that 90 percent of Syrians lived below the poverty line and desperately needed help to survive. Last month, deteriorating living conditions pushed many people to the streets demanding change.
“People are desperate; they’re stealing, there’s kidnapping, the worst social problems you can imagine,” Doyle says.
“That’s the bad news. But the good news is when people are amid desperation, there is a heightened response to the Gospel.”
Desperation drives Capagon use as well as production. However, while Captagon results in a temporary high, Gospel truth leads to everlasting hope.
“Our national leaders in Syria are saying that this is an incredibly fruitful time for the Gospel,” Doyle says.
“Everything else in the country is broken, but Jesus is rescuing [people]; good things are happening in Syria.”
Use the prompts listed alongside this article to pray for believers in Syria. “They’re asking for prayer and saying, ‘Believers in the West, would you pray for us once a week? Put that on your calendar, we need your prayers,’” Doyle says.
“A good day to pray would be on Friday because it’s the day of prayer for Muslims, and of course, that’s the majority of the people in Syria.”
Header image depicts 127 bags of Captagon seized in Syria before being destroyed on May 31, 2018. The Syrian government sponsors the largest Captagon drug production and smuggling network in the world, contributing to more than 80 percent of global supply. (Wikimedia Commons)