ICYMI: Rep. Hill Joins New Lines Institute to Discuss Assad’s Narcotic Production and Trafficking in Syria

Yesterday, Rep. French Hill (AR-02) joined the New Lines Institute for a virtual discussion on the U.S. strategy on captagon titled, “The Captagon Trade Conference.”

Selected excerpts of Rep. Hill’s remarks below:

“Narcotic production and trafficking in Syria and its neighbors has become more expansive and widespread. The current epicenter of this drug trade is in territory controlled by the Assad regime. These drugs are not only crippling local populations, serving to undermine families and local communities, but also serve to fuel hostilities and finance the Assad regime and Iran-backed groups in the region.

“The U.S. government must do all it can to disrupt the industrial level of drug production currently taking place in Syria. If it does not, then we risk permitting the Narco-State of Assad to become a permanent fixture in the region… Assad will continue to drive the ongoing conflict, provide a lifeline to extremist groups, and permit American adversaries such as China, Russia, and Iran to strengthen their engagement there, posing an ever-larger threat to Israel and other partners in the region.”

“We need leadership here. Where like-minded members and partners around the world join us to end this narcotics trade and it starts by having a strategy, and that’s something I don’t think we have on an interagency basis fully which is why I suggest this legislation [H.R. 6265].”

To watch the full discussion, click HERE or on the image below.


Further Background:

In December 20201, Rep. Hill and Rep. Brendan Boyle (PA-02) introduced H.R. 6265, the Countering Assad’s Proliferation, Trafficking, and Garnering of Narcotics (CAPTAGON) Act, which requires the federal government to develop an interagency strategy to disrupt and dismantle narcotics production and trafficking and affiliated networks linked to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

In the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, Rep. Hill included a provision to disrupt and dismantle the Assad regime’s illicit narcotic production and trafficking in Syria.

While that amendment was stripped out from the final version of the FY 2022 NDAA, the Joint Explanatory Statement for the NDAA included the following language: “We note that the Captagon trade is a cause of instability in the Middle East that has negative implications for the national security of the United States and its allies and partners. We support development of a strategy to guide appropriate action against narcotics production and trafficking and affiliated networks linked to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.”

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