For millennia Syria was at the heart of empires, but today the country has become synonymous with war.
Since the Arab Spring of 2011, the country has been in a state of civil war with competing armed actors with different aims and allegiances battling one another leaving staggering human misery in their wake.
The Syrian civil war has also created a perfect brewing pot for illicit activities, from the production of synthetic drugs to trafficking of both humans and arms. And state-backed actors are deeply involved in these activities and there is little oversight.
How did the war change the organised crime landscape in Syria? Who are the criminal actors today and how are they profiting from the conflict? And why do some people call Syria a “narco-state”?
Laura Adal, Head of Western Asia Programme, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. Laura also leads the development of the Organized Crime Index.