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Syrian mercenaries pose drug threat to Caucasian regions

October 04, 2013, 18:32 UTC+3

Russian anti-drug chief: foreign mercenaries in Syria might flow to the Caucasus to win control over drug trafficking

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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Stanislav Krasilnikov

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Stanislav Krasilnikov

YEREVAN, October 4 (Itar-Tass) - Contractors who are fighting in Syria pose a big threat from the point of view of drug spread, head of Russia’s anti-drug service Viktor Ivanov said on Friday, summing up the results of the anti-drug operation Channel-Caucasus carried out by the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

“Along with the obvious process of rapid destabilization of the entire region, it is necessary to analyze possible redeployment of foreign mercenaries in Syria, which is located just 600 kilometers away from the Caucasus,” he said. “Our experts forecast that out of job, foreign mercenaries in Syria grouped in rival paramilitary formations might flow to the Caucasus to win control over the lucrative transit of Afghan drugs, which will yield much bigger profits than they are having now.”

“Analysis of the situation reveals that the Caucasus is under a strong pressure of huge amounts of Afghan heroin and hashish coming from various sources,” Ivanov said. “According to our materials, up to ten tonnes of heroin and more than 20 tonnes of hashish are trafficked annually via this region” and up to one billion narco-dollars settle here annually.

“As a matter of fact, we can say there is a new phenomenon - the Caucasian drug trafficking route, so we must analyze it in detail and take joint measures to stop it,” he noted. “An anti-drug subsystem is to be built throughout the Caucasus, which will be a segment of a common Eurasian system of anti-drug security.” He came out with a proposal to set up a working group that will be tasked to issue a report on the drug situation in the Caucasus by November 10.

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