The civil war in Syria has led to the rapid disintegration of societal mores and law and order, and there are those who have rushed to fill the void.
Media outlets identified with rebels in the country revealed on Monday that members of a Hezbollah-aligned militia were caught by residents selling drugs to high-school students in Souk Wadi Barada, a Syrian village west of Damascus.
According to the reports, residents are furious that military intelligence officials and militia members regularly selling drugs, manufactured in Lebanon, to local youths in order to generate income.
The drugs are brought into Syria by members of Hezbollah’s drug network, which smuggles drugs into other countries as well.
Ever since the civil war broke out in 2011, many of the Syrian recruits working for the regime have either not been paid or have only had their salaries paid in part. As a result, many have turned to the drug trade in an effort to supplement their lost income.
“Members of the militia come with hashish and uppers and offer them to students,” one local described the situation. “Many of the youths have experienced trauma and difficulties because of the war, and using drugs to escape all that is easy for them.”
Last month, a number of battles broke out between militias in the western suburbs of Damascus, apparently as part of an ongoing turf war over revenue from the drug trade, as well as the sale of water and flour in the area.
The local population, which is largely Sunni Muslim, has been forced to accept the militia’s monopoly on local services, as the Syrian regime continues to turn a blind eye to the violence, drug trafficking, and prostitution.