Assad Orders Measures Against Rami Makhlouf’s Companies

A combination photo of Bashar Assad and Rami Makhlouf
A combination photo of Bashar Assad and Rami Makhlouf
TT

Assad Orders Measures Against Rami Makhlouf’s Companies

A combination photo of Bashar Assad and Rami Makhlouf
A combination photo of Bashar Assad and Rami Makhlouf

The head of the Syrian regime, Bashar Assad, has ordered a series of measures against companies owned by his cousin, Rami Makhlouf, in Syria, informed sources said on Tuesday.

The sources said the measures involve Makhlouf’s shares in the state-owned Syrian Telecom Company (Syriatel), the country’s biggest mobile phone company.

Makhlouf, Assad’s first cousin and the son of Mohammed Makhlouf, is considered a top businessmen in Syria.

In the past few years, Samer Foz appeared as a main competitor to Makhlouf, particularly after purchasing his stake at the Four Seasons hotel in the capital Damascus.

The European Union and the US have imposed sanctions on both Makhlouf and Foz due to their role in supporting the Syrian regime.

Makhlouf founded several companies, including Cham Holding. He was later linked to financing pro-regime forces and their linked militias, mainly through Al-Bustan Association.

The Syrian opposition website Kuluna Shuraka (All4Syria) reported on Tuesday that Moscow asked from Damascus a large sum of money and that Assad contacted his uncle, currently present in Russia, for this end.

However, the website said Makhlouf failed to provide the sum prompting the regime to ask a “committee tasked with fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism, to start an investigation with 29 of the most powerful Syrian businessmen, including Makhlouf.”

The website said similar measures were taken against Mohammed Hamsho, a Syrian businessman with extensive links to the Syrian government and the Assad family.

The Damascus regime had earlier taken measures against Ayman Jaber, another businessman active in the Syrian coast.

Some opposition figures said on Tuesday that Moscow asked that Damascus pay $1billion.



Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
TT

Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas

Israeli forces retreated from some Gaza City districts overnight after a fierce, week-long military offensive, leaving dozens of dead and wrecked homes and roads in the Palestinian enclave's biggest urban area, residents and rescue service said on Friday.

The offensive, 10 months into Israel's campaign to eliminate Hamas militants, took place as US-backed mediators sought to finalize a peace deal that would free remaining hostages taken by the militants in their cross-border rampage on Oct. 7.

According to Reuters, the Gaza Civil Emergency Service said teams had collected around 60 bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past week from the area of Tel Al-Hawa and the edges of the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City.

Both residents and rescue teams cautioned that while tanks withdrew from some areas, Israeli snipers and tanks continued to control high ground at some locations, and warned residents against trying to return to their homes in those areas.

"There are bodies scattered in the streets, dismembered bodies, there are bodies of entire families, there are also bodies inside a home of an entire family that was completely burned," Gaza Strip Civil Defense spokesperson Mahmoud Basal said in comments carried by media in Hamas-run Gaza.

The Israeli military had said on Thursday that its forces were working to dismantle Hamas capabilities in Gaza City, and that it "follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm." It said the same was not true of Hamas.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said they had fought fierce battles against Israeli forces, attacking them with anti-tank rockets and mortar fire, killing and wounding many. There has been no Israeli army comment on those claims.

Home to more than a quarter of Gaza's residents before the war, Gaza City was largely razed to the ground in late 2023, but hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have returned to homes in the ruins. Israel has once again ordered them out, though it is unclear where residents can go safely. Israel controls most of Gaza's borders and is also attacking central and southern Gaza.