Sidelined Syrian tycoon Makhlouf: legal actions against me are illegal. Asks nephew Bashar al-Assad to intervene

DARAMSUQ (DAMASCUS), Syria – Syrian tycoon and maternal nephew to Bashar al-Assad, Rami Makhlouf, send his third message via Facebook in the ongoing family feud over Syria’s economic assets. In the third Facebook video, Makhlouf claims that the latest government’s legal actions in the seizure of his assets are illegal. Al-Assad and Makhlouf are involved in a family feud over a.o. Syria’s largest telecom company, Syriatel. And Al-Assad seems to be winning.

In his third online Facebook video, Makhlouf claims that the dispute is related to his company and not to him personally. He (re-)stated that the company’s management is being illegally replaced with government trustees and that the fine of USD 185 million by the Syrian Postal & Regulatory Authority holds no grounds. Makhlouf asked his nephew Bashar al-Assad to intervene and help him in his case as he said that he is not allowed to deal with the case himself.

Makhlouf and al-Assad are family and longtime friends. Through his nephew and his father’s connections Makhlouf was able to build a business empire with interests in e.g. telecom and finance. Makhlouf also dominated the Syrian Socialist National Party, several cover humanitarian and aid organizations which he used to create support among the Alawites. All are or are in danger of being taken away from him. His private armed militia is already dissolved into other army divisions.

The feud over the countries’ assets started last year and al-Assad and his party seem to be the winning party. Makhlouf lost much support and much of his power base in the higher echelons since his aunt, the mother of al-Assad, past away and his father got sick and left the country.