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Assad's stubborn wife dismantling Makhlouf charities

Local | 2020-05-21 19:08:44
Assad's stubborn wife dismantling Makhlouf charities
   Asma al-Assad
(Zaman Al Wasl)- The rift between Syria’s telecom tycoon Rami Makhlouf and his maternal cousin Bashar al-Assad has marked a turning point in the boiling political scene in the war-torn country.

Syria experts say the row could mark the first major rift in decades within the family that has ruled the country since Assad's father Hafez took power 50 years ago.

Makhlouf, who owns powerful Al-Bustan Charity, is promoting himself as the ‘savior’ of the poor while the First Lady Asma al-Assad moves to the forefront of economic dominance. 

Not long ago, Assad’s strong wife seized the archives of the wounded veterans, which is one of the most pivotal economic files in loyalist circles. She has sent the head of her office along with security personnel from the presidential palace to retrieve the archives from al-Shaheed and al-Bustan foundations, which, aside from Assad’s government, are supposedly in charge of the issue.

The file is divided into two main parts: the dead and wounded of the Ministry of Defense, and the dead and wounded of the paramilitary National Defense group, the elite 5th Corps, and security and other militias. 

About 225,000 Syrian forces and allied fighters have been killed since 2011, according to data obtained by Zaman al-Wasl where the Syrian regime pays monthly more than 14 billion pounds, ($80 million) as compensation for war wounded and for the families of slain forces.

Makhlouf played a big role in financing Assad's war effort in the conflict, Western officials have said. He is under U.S. and EU sanctions.

A workshop held by Asma al-Assad last week presented the final nail in the coffin of the killed and wounded in the ranks of allied forces. The regime is currently unable to pay any compensations for those who stood against their brothers and countrymen, and who now have taken to social media to air their grievances and raise awareness about their suffering.

According to the source, one major resolution of the workshop was to re-examine the thousands of cases of wounded and dead within that category, who are outside the command of the Ministry of Defense, on the basis that, unlike within the ministry’s ranks, corruption was widespread among those troops.

However, an old report by the commander of the 102nd regiment of the Republican Guard about the injury of one of his officers, reveal that most of the files of the Ministry of Defense are also marred by corruption, favoritism, bribery, and sectarianism, and need to be reviewed. The report states that First Lieutenant Younes Hilal was injured in service while in fact he was injured in his hometown, Tartus, during leave. However, despite the evident forgery of the document by the commander of the regiment, so far, Hilal did not receive his desired compensation.

The upcoming days may set forth a strong backlash from the poor loyalists who were part of auxiliary forces, after the salaries of their wounded and the killed stops coming. Perhaps the clock will restart again, back to 2011, and we will witness these supporters taking to the streets and squares and demanding the fall of the tyrant.

Zaman Al Wasl
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