The latest on Syria. Officially the Syrian Arab Republic, the current state formed in the mid-20th century after Ottoman rule and a brief French mandate. Originally called the Republic of Syria when it declared a parliamentary independence in 1945, the country was renamed the Arab Republic of Syria in 1961. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000, taking over after his father, Hafez al-Assad, served as president from 1971 until 2000. al-Assad and his ruling political party, the Ba'ath Party, have been condemned internationally for human rights violations and censorship. 

The Coming Middle East Narco Wars

The Captagon drug trade not only facilitates Bashar al-Assad's atrocities against the Syrian people, but could also create further instability through the widespread proliferation of amphetamine usage in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.