Middle East, Africa

Assad regime, Haftar collude in drug trade: Libyan min.

Libya's Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha asked UN Security Counsel to take action

Enes Canli   | 05.05.2020
Assad regime, Haftar collude in drug trade: Libyan min.

ANKARA 

An investment commission connected to the leader of the illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, warlord commander Khalifa Haftar, is trading drugs with the Assad regime in Syria, Libya's Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha claimed Tuesday.

Bashagha took to social media and alluded to 4 metric tons (4.4 tons) of drugs captured in milk cartons on the EGY CROWN ship that was docked at Egypt's Port Said. The ship was coming from Syria en route to Benghazi.

Bashagha said the cartons belonged to a businessman close to the Syrian regime who is also on the sanctions list of the US and EU.

"Haftar's Army Investment Commission has been in collaboration with Assad regime for some time, and trying to open an air and sea corridor through Libya, so as to gain illegal financial benefits," he said.

The minister emphasized that according to reports by international finance supervision and narcotics organizations, the Assad regime is smuggling drugs to certain points, including eastern ports of Libya through Syria, and finances itself with illegal economic activity.

The Libyan government is in touch with Interpol regarding the issue and if no action is taken against it, there will be a greater damage because terror groups will be ceaselessly financed, said Bashagha, who demanded the UN Security Council and international community take action.

According to local media, a Syrian flag ship leaving Latakia, Syria, to Benghazi was stopped by Greek authorities in December 2018 near Crete.

Drugs worth $113 million were seized and linked to a businessman close to the Syrian regime, and an individual close to Haftar in Libya.

Illegal activities are on the rise in Haftar-controlled Benghazi. Arms dealing and the drug trade have increased, according to a UN report in January.

*Writing by Firdevs Bulut

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