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Kurdish Security Forces Arrest Over 1,000 on Drug-Related Charges in 2024

Gulan Media June 22, 2024 News
Kurdish Security Forces Arrest Over 1,000 on Drug-Related Charges in 2024

Sulaimani Province Reports Highest Number of Arrests

Kurdish security forces have apprehended more than 1,000 individuals on drug-related charges across the Kurdistan Region since January, according to a recent statement by the spokesperson of the Sulaimani-based security forces (Asayish).

Salam Abdulkhaliq, head of the Asayish media team, informed Rudaw’s Soran Hussein on Saturday that of the total arrests, 572 occurred in Sulaimani province. Abdulkhaliq detailed that the majority of those detained for drug usage are between 18 and 30 years old, while the traffickers come from a broader range of age groups.

“There are very few females involved. For example, only one woman has been arrested on drug charges in Sulaimani province,” Abdulkhaliq noted, emphasizing that the suspects are predominantly male.

The Kurdistan Region and Iraq have witnessed a surge in drug trafficking and usage since the fall of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. This trend has raised significant concerns among regional authorities and the public.

In an interview with Rudaw in March, Kwestan Muhamad, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Labour and Social Affairs Minister, warned of the escalating drug problem, labeling it a “great danger and more dangerous than terrorism.”

Supporting this concern, the general director of the Kurdistan Region’s correctional facilities reported in May a substantial increase in convictions related to drug offenses.

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has reaffirmed the government's commitment to tackling the drug crisis. He stated that the Region is “seriously and widely working to eradicate and combat” the threat posed by drugs. In an appeal made last October, Barzani urged both Kurdish and international communities to collaborate with Erbil to address what he termed an “endemic” problem.

The recent arrests highlight the ongoing efforts by Kurdish security forces to curb drug-related activities and underscore the urgent need for comprehensive strategies and international cooperation to combat the growing drug menace in the region.

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