Ahmed Zakaria- Horrya Press:
Residents of the city of Raqqa complain of the marked spread of narcotic drugs of various types among young people. This became a matter of worry for many, associated with demands to put an end to the phenomenon. People are also complaining of insecurity, and the widespread assassinations, robberies, and looting.
What raises concerns is the spread of this phenomenon among schoolchildren, in public places, and central parks, without supervision. On the contrary, narcotics are being promoted and sold in front of everyone, with the potential for a mass disaster that threatens the future of an entire generation within the city controlled by the militia of Syrian Democratic forces “QSD”.
70% of “QSD” Members are Drug Users
The Humanitarian activist, Abu Nayef, said to Horrya Press that ” spread of drugs and hashish started markedly since “QSD” entered the city of Raqqa and its countryside. It started among “QSD” personnel, then circulated to the civilians as a result of the co-existence. Drugs are spread among youth, adolescent, and children aged 14 to 40 years. The most common pills are captagon, tramadol of various types, Sudafed, baltane, laxis, neodol, and Pregabalin, in addition to all kinds of hashish.
Abu Nayef confirmed that the information he has about the kinds of pills came from one of the traders in the city, who provide an overview of the drugs and their prices. The trader said that a pill of captagon or laxis is sold for 500 Syrian pounds, but the rest kinds are sold in pharmacies for 300 to 1000 Syrian pounds, where there is no regulatory authority, while ten pills are sold on black market for 3500 to 4000 Syrian pounds.
He also added that “QSD” is behind what happens, as most traders work with them, and that they plant hashish, and sell it through civilians, noting that 70% of “QSD” personnel use drugs.
Drugs in Markets and Public Places
According to local sources, “QSD” militia has the principal responsibility for this phenomenon, as the drug dealers follow their orders.
The manager of Sound and Picture Organization, Muhammed al- Kheder, told Horrya Press that “it all started after “QSD” militia took over Raqqa. Then drugs began to spread on a large scale in the city, public places, markets, and even in central parks, especially during the holiday seasons.
According to Al-Kheder, drugs are traded publically, in bulk and without any deterrent, under protection of “QSD”. There are people everyone knows that they work as drug dealers.
Al-Kheder stated that all kinds of pills fall under captagon, which means that they are composed in local laboratories. Due to that, these pills contain high toxicity.
With regard to the prices of narcotic substances, the prices vary as one pill is sold at 500 an up to 5000 Syrian pounds, and one gram of heroin fetch up to 10000, besides, the substance is handled to be sold as heroin powder.
Drugs with Iranian Taste
Many attributed the spread of narcotics to the prevailing security chaos, in addition to that, it forms a lucrative business for “QSD” militia, through using the youth and force them to drug addiction.
Abu Maya, a member of Reporters without Borders, Raqqa, told Horrya Press that after “QSD” controlled the city, drug dealers began, taking advantage of the insecurity, to distribute drugs and make profits.
“We all know that “QSD” controls Raqqa and rural Raqqa, and nothing can happen without their knowledge, since they have many checkpoints inside and outside the city, and that makes them responsible,” added Abu Maya to Horrya Press.
Abu Maya drew the attention to the fact that drug trade was first limited to senior leaders of “QSD”, who used to transport it in the so-called public security vehicles or police cars as they are not subject to inspection.
“Lukman Saha”, the actual military chief of Raqqa, used to allow the drugs into the city through groups work for him. Lukman’s guy was Abu Jassim Al-Raqqawi, who robbed most of Raqqa houses, and when they tried to prosecute him for robbery and drug dealing he threatened to disclose information about other people implicated in the case, continued Abu Maya.
Regarding the kinds of drugs, Abu Maya said that they range from heroin to cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana, noting that all these kinds come from Iran to Qamishli then to Raqqa. Besides, many goods are marked with Persian writings, and two months ago, “QSD” distributed Iranian packs of cigarettes into people in the streets for free.
Addicts among Female Teachers and Students
The same source stated that earlier drugs was distributed at no charge in order to turn people into addicts. Abu Maria spoke about “QSD” fraudulent practices to shift away the inquiries concerning them in the matter of supporting drug traffickers. At first, it was done in secret, but over time it became public. “‘QSD’ put warning signs about the dangers of drugs, in order to shake of the suspicion surrounding them because of the media pressure,” said he.
He provided examples of the dangers caused by this phenomenon, acknowledging the distribution into school pupils, and highlighting the common problems of obtaining these pills.
According to Abu Maria, 90 female teachers underwent educational sessions for drug addiction. Besides, there are drug addicted girls under the age of 15 who subjected to 45 days closed camps, where narcotic pills were put in their meals.
Slums are Hotbeds for Drug Dealers
The presence of drugs and hashish became normal in the city of Raqqa, like cigarettes, according to Abu Hamdi, a media activist. “Since we return to Raqqa, we noticed the spread of drugs among young people, and things were no different even when we were in the camps,” he added.
Slums and poor neighborhoods like Al-Dariya, Rumela, Mashlab, the Train Street, and Bedouin District.
Abu Hamdi told Horrya Press that there is a drug dealer in every district and neighborhood of the city. Even young men and women trade narcotics, as he put it, due to unemployment and lack of job opportunities.
* Translated by: Sura Alloush