Unusual Jordanian Air Attack on Captagon Industry Targets in Southern Syria (May 8, 2023)

A few hours ago (May 8), the Jordanian Air Force carried out an unusual attack on two targets related to the Captagon drug industry in southern Syria. The attack was carried out following the statement of May 6 by the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Safadi, that Jordan will not be able to continue to tolerate the continued smuggling of drugs into Jordan, and that Jordanian military activity in southern Syria is being considered.

Jordan serves as a central transit country for the Syrian Captagon drug industry and has been trying to deal with the flood of smuggling into its territory for many years.

The main site bombed by the Jordanians was already located by us in July 2021 in a special report we published on the drug industry in southern Syria. This is a Captagon production site located in a wastewater treatment facility located south of Al-Muzayrib near Al-Yadudah, northwest of Daraa city.

The Captagon production site is managed by Mustafa al-Masalmeh known to us as “Al Kassam”, who lives in the Manshiya neighborhood in Daraa city. The local al-Masalmeh family is known for its connections with the Shia axis.

Above: Mustafa al-Masalmeh.

It should be noted that some of the equipment for the drug’s production was also brought into the nearby town, Kharab al-Shahem, by a man named Ahmed Al-Khaldi (“Abu Salem”). His original name is Ahmed Mahaosh, originally from Kharab al-Shahem. He is the head of a militia numbering about 300 local mercenaries whose base is in Kharab al-Shahem. The militiamen are also deployed in Alajami, Al-Fawwar, Khirbet Qais, and Nahag. Al-Khaldi is close to Division 4 of the Syrian army under the command of Mahar al-Assad (the president’s brother), known for its involvement in the Captagon industry.

Another site that was attacked, according to local indications, is the home of Marai Al-Ramathan known to us as “Abu Hamza”, which was also mentioned by us in the special report from July 2021. Al-Ramathan is a Bedouin from the village of Al-Sha’ab in the east of Sweida. About 45 years old. He is considered one of the biggest smugglers in the region and a major collaborator with the Shia Axis and Division 4. A local militia operates under him. Defined as responsible for storing the drugs and transferring them to Jordan. According to reports, he and his family were killed in the attack.

Above: Marai Alramthan (left)
Above: Apparently the bombed house of Al-Ramathan.

The infrastructure of the Captagon production equipment operating in southern Syria facilitates the distribution of the drugs to Jordan and from there to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. Thus, only the raw materials for the production of Captagon (produced mainly in Lebanon and the Syrian region near the Lebanese border in Qalamoun) can be transferred to southern Syria and not the final product. The equipment and places for the production and storage of the Captagon do not need sophisticated buildings, and sometimes even take place inside private homes and other places, as can also be seen from the targets of the Jordanian attack.

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Tal Beeri

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