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Hezbollah must be getting hard up for cash these days, and it’s clear that the sanctions imposed on Tehran must be taking their toll as well.

Members of the Iranian-backed terrorist proxy based in Lebanon, which has military bases through Syria, have been spotted selling drugs to high school kids in Syria, in the western Damascus suburb of Wadi Barada, according to Syrian rebel media sources quoted in the Israel Hayom free daily.

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The sources reportedly told a Syrian rebel site, “People of the militia come with hashish and ‘energy pills’ and offer them to the students. Many of the youths have been through trauma and difficulties because of the war, and the escape into drugs is easy for them. They are abusing the youths’ weakness.”

According to the report, cannabis and cannabis products are the primary product being sold to kids in Syria by the Hezbollah drug network, which for years has made money by drug trafficking in other countries, including through South and Central America.

Local residents complained that military intelligence and members of terrorist groups sell drugs produced in Lebanon to the students in order to make an income, since many of those who have supported the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have not received full salaries – or any salaries – for months.

But a drug trafficker was arrested Sunday by “a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration” according to Syria’s state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), which reported that authorities also seized at the same time “a quantity of narcotic cannabis and Captagon pills.”

Syria’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that the amount of drugs seized in the raid “amounted to 400 kilograms of hashish and 5100 pills of Captagon.”

Last month Syrian authorities reportedly seized 266 kilograms of hashish and 60,000 Captagon pills in a raid on a hideout south of Damascus; two arrests were made as well.

In July 2019, a shipment of 33 million Captagon pills weighing 5.25 tons was seized in Greece coming in from Syria, Reuters reported. Later the same month, 800,000 Captagon pills were found on a boat in the UAE, according to a report published by Gulf News.

Militant groups have been exporting the drug in exchange for weapons and cash, Reuters reported.

Abuse of fenethylline, the generic form of the stimulant Captagon, is most common in Arab countries and has been taking place for years. It is manufactured locally in a cheap and simple process and reportedly sells for between $1.50 and $2.00 a pill in Lebanon, as of July 2019.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.