Syrian regime finds means of financial survival

Syria’s government is under growing financial pressure but is surviving through a mixture of help from allies, severe spending cuts, money from wealthy businessmen and the country’s remaining functioning industries. Almost two years after the Syrian uprising began, Damascus is funding its state structures and war machine thanks to assistance from Moscow and Tehran

EU Probes Cigarette Deal That May Have Aided Syria

The European Union is investigating whether its Syrian sanctions were violated by the sale of cigarettes to a firm linked to cousins of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to corporate documents seen by The Wall Street Journal. The sale by a Swiss-based unit of Japan Tobacco Inc. in May 2011 went to a firm then […]

Rami Makhlouf: Bashar Assad’s Hated Billionaire Cousin

When protesters took to the streets against the Assad family 16 months ago to launch what has become a nationwide uprising, one of their first chants was “Makhlouf is a thief.” They were referring to Rami Makhlouf, Bashar al-Assad’s maternal cousin, who has run a vast business empire – from telecoms to banks, to real […]

Syrian opposition dismisses Makhlouf ‘s move to charity

Tycoon Rami Makhlouf, who says he is quitting the Syrian business scene, owes his fortune and his role as a hate figure for protesters to his cousin President Bashar al-Assad. Just three months ago it would have been unthinkable to have even criticized him and Assad told businessmen last year, before the uprising against him: […]