Amphetamines and truckloads full of Red Bull energy drinks are being shipped from Turkey to fighters in Syria’s civil war who use them to stay alert on the battlefield. Turkish businesses profit from the trade, as do Syrian rebel groups ranging from the Islamic State (ISIS) to the Free Syrian Army.
With Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime having lost control of the border crossings years ago, various rebel factions control the crossings into Turkey. The rebels use the profits in large part to purchase more weapons.
The Local, an Australian newspaper, reports
that traders are moving a wide variety of goods from Turkey into Syria, including cement and vegetable oil. But observers say the energy drink is the most popular item of all with fighters in Syria.
"Every day we have four or five trucks carrying Red Bulls to Syria," Mustafa Yilmaz, owner of Cem-Ay Transport, a Turkish trucking company, told Bloomberg News late last month.
Red Bull is not the lone stimulant of choice for many Syrian fighters. The Local reported that traders are smuggling the amphetamine Captagon in to the combatants, and Breitbart reports
that other forms of amphetamines like the club drug known as speed (which enable fighters to remain alert for many hours with little or no sleep) have been funneled into Syria for the fighters’ benefit.
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