The British Times, has published an article entitled “Assad is holding his wealthy cousin to pay the debt of war to President Putin”.
The article points to a rift within the Syrian ruling family over a dispute between President Bashar Al Assad and his cousin billionaire Rami Makhlouf.
The newspaper pointed out that the reason for the dispute between Assad and his cousin, who is considered the richest man in Syria, is his refusal to pay the debts of the war in the country, which includes both Russia and Iran.
The dispute began, according to the article, with a social media post written by 22-year-old Mohammed Makhlouf, the son of Rami Makhlouf, who owns several large Syrian companies, and reportedly controlled 60% of the Syrian economy before the 2011 uprising.
This publication has been circulated by several news sites as well as by pro and anti-Syrian figures.
Mohammed Makhlouf is best known for his posts on the social networking site “Instagram”, where he often publishes pictures of him standing in front of his luxury sports cars and luxury villa where he lives in Dubai.
He claimed in a recent publication that he was about to invest $ 300 million of his business profits in real estate in Syria.
The article points out that the publications of Mohammed Makhlouf caused an international dispute, as reports that President Assad was forced to take action after Russian President Vladimir Putin asked him to pay the bill of his country’s participation in the war, estimated at $ 3 billion, pointing out that if Syria does not have this amount The Makhlouf family certainly owns it.
Others say Assad’s attempts to regain control of Syrian cities and towns prompted him to use Makhlouf’s money to fund militias to fight alongside the Syrian army.
As the article explains, Rami Makhlouf refused to hand over his family’s financial assets, prompting the regime to seize them under the pretext of fighting corruption.
He is also reportedly being held under house arrest with his father and two brothers.
The newspaper says that there was no news to confirm the truth of these reports, but a Facebook account allegedly belonging to another relative of President Assad, Nisreen Makhlouf, published an article saying: “Anyone who thinks this will stop at my uncle and his sons must To expose himself to a veterinarian… .. # house arrest ”.
According to the article, for years Makhlouf family as the father Mouhammad and his son Rami along with his other brothers, have been the cornerstone of Hafez Al Assad ruling era, then Bashar, who privatized some of Syria’s economic assets, allowing them, Rami Makhlof in particular to build his financial empire.
Makhlouf doesn’t seem to have a good relationship with the Russians because of his closeness to the Iranians.
The article concludes with what some say that the real reason for the dispute is that Makhlouf transferred a large part of his wealth outside the country, in addition to reducing his financial investments inside Syria.