US State Department Reveals Assad Family’s Net Worth

US Department of State (Asharq Al-Awsat)
US Department of State (Asharq Al-Awsat)
TT

US State Department Reveals Assad Family’s Net Worth

US Department of State (Asharq Al-Awsat)
US Department of State (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The US Department of State issued a highly anticipated report to Congress on the estimated net worth and known sources of income of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his family, estimated at between $1-2 billion.

The report examines the finances of Bashar Assad and his wife Asma, Bashar’s brother Maher and sister Bushra, Bashar’s cousins Rami and Ihab Makhlouf, and Bashar’s uncle Rifaat Assad.

The State Department did not have sufficient information on the net worth of Bashar Assad’s three children, Hafez, Zayn, and Karim, which could generate criticism in Congress.

The report is binding to the administration after Congress passed a law asking it to be submitted periodically.

“Estimates based on open-source information generally put the Assad family net worth at between $1-2 billion, but this is an inexact estimate which the Department is unable to independently corroborate,” read the report.

The Department claimed that it was difficult to accurately estimate the net worth of Assad and his extended family members because family assets are believed to “be spread out and concealed in numerous accounts, real estate portfolios, corporations, and offshore tax havens.”

The report argues that “any assets located outside of Syria and not seized or blocked are likely held under false names or by other individuals, to obscure ownership and evade sanctions.”

Meanwhile, the Syrian President appointed Major General Ali Abbas as the new Defense Minister, succeeding General Ali Ayoub, in the fifth change to this position since 2011.

Ayoub, former army chief of staff, was appointed by Assad in 2018.

It is not unusual to change senior officials in high ministerial positions in Syria.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
TT

WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."