US-backed Syria rebels seize Captagon in Daesh drug bust: coalition

Updated 18 June 2018
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US-backed Syria rebels seize Captagon in Daesh drug bust: coalition

BEIRUT: Syrian rebels backed by the US-led coalition have seized a massive drug stash worth around $1.4 million during operations against the Daesh group, the alliance said Monday.
Maghawir Al-Thawra, a rebel faction trained by both the United States and Jordan, captured and destroyed the narcotics on May 31 in southeast Syria, the coalition said in a statement.
The drugs were estimated to have a black market value of around $1.4 million (1.2 million euros).
“The cache included more than 300,000 pills of Captagon, an illegal drug frequently trafficked and used by Daesh members,” it said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
They were seized during Maghawir Al-Thawra’s operations surrounding the Al-Tanf base, which lies along Syria’s border with Jordan.
Captagon is classified by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as an “amphetamine-type stimulant” and usually blends amphetamines, caffeine and other substances.
It is often referred to as the “jihadist” drug, as fighters who take it say it helps them stay awake for days and that it numbs their senses, allowing them to kill with abandon.
For at least two years, British and US commandos have been training and advising rebels fighting Daesh from Al-Tanf.
A 55-kilometer (34 mile) de-confliction zone around the garrison is meant to serve as a buffer between US-backed forces and fighters loyal to Syria’s regime.
The US-led coalition said the seizure of the drugs happened within the zone.
Maghawir Al-Thawra announced the drug bust last week in a dramatic video published on its Facebook page.
It included stills of dozens of plastic bags filled with yellow and white pills, which were later shown being set on fire.


Libyans, to varying degrees, celebrate 2011 uprising

Updated 17 February 2019
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Libyans, to varying degrees, celebrate 2011 uprising

  • Hundreds of people reveled Sunday in the western cities of Tripoli, Misrata and Zawiya

BENGHAZI: Libyans are celebrating the eighth anniversary of their 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi, with the varying intensity of festivities underscoring the split between the country’s east and west.
Hundreds of people reveled Sunday in the western cities of Tripoli, Misrata and Zawiya, where bands played national songs and flags lined the streets.
But festivities were much more subdued in the country’s east, with only a few people gathering at the central courthouse in Benghazi, a city that has billed itself as the birthplace of Libya’s uprising.
Libya remains largely a chaotic patchwork of territory run by militias and gangs, with rival administrations in Tripoli and the east.