Syrian businessman Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of President Bashar Al-Assad, said he plans to donate profits from his investments to charity and will no longer be a “burden” on the country.
“I announce that I will not allow myself to be a burden on Syria, its people and president from now on,” Makhlouf said in a press conference in the capital, Damascus, yesterday.
Makhlouf, who holds stakes in businesses including Syriatel Mobile Telecom SA, was one of 13 Syrian officials subject to European Union sanctions last month. In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Syriatel for its connection to the businessman and, in a statement, accused Makhlouf of using access to “high-level” officials to enrich himself.
A total of 1,289 civilians and 332 security forces have been killed in Syria since protests broke out in the country three months ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on June 12. The uprising, which has prompted as many at 10,000 Syrians to flee to Turkey, threatens to undermine the Assad family’s 40-year rule of the Middle Eastern country.
Makhlouf linked Israel’s stability to Syria’s in an interview with the New York Times, the newspaper reported May 10. Syria’s ruling elite will fight to the end, he told the newspaper.