Rami Makhlouf (333)


This 2,200-word factsheet provides a profile of the Commercial Bank of Syria, the country's largest lender, whose history goes back to the Ottoman Empire and which is now under western sanctions.


Updated April 07/2021:The combined credit portfolios of all microfinance lenders in Syria reached SYP 28.6 billion last year, while deposits reached SYP 16.9 billion, according to statistics released by the Central Bank of Syria (CBS) for the first time, highlighting the government’s growing interest in this sector.


Prominent UK-based Syrian investor Ayman Asfari has sold his share in Gulfsands Petroleum to an investment firm owned by a Russian businessman, which now holds a controlling stake in the company.


The four representatives of the Lebanese Byblos Bank SAL (BYB) resigned from the board of its Syrian subsidiary this week, potentially paving the way for it to quit the country.


This 2,200-word factsheet provides an overview of the Syrian tobacco sector, a major industry, particularly in the coastal area.


Syria’s second telecom operator MTN-Syria has been placed under the judicial custody of a minority stakeholder with reported links to the country’s First Lady Asma Al-Assad, as the government seeks to exert greater control over the company.


Syrian businessman Nader Qalei, a prominent member of the Sunni-Damascene business elite and regime supporter, died in Beirut last week after suffering from symptoms of Covid-19, local media reported.


Banque Bemo Saudi Fransi SA, Syria’s largest private conventional bank, has been granted a licence to launch a microfinance project with a prominent forex trader believed to be affiliated with influential Lebanese and Syrian business figures.


The list below includes the names of all the individuals that have been blacklisted by the European Union since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in March 2011.


A new factory to produce vegetable oil and soap has been set up in Hassakeh province under the control of Kurdish-dominated authorities, according to local media reports, some of which have linked the project to a war profiteer who has grown increasingly prominent throughout the conflict.


Syria is planning to issue a long-awaited licence for a third telecoms operator at the beginning of next year, according to the country’s telecommunications minister.


More details have emerged about an American company which appears to have won exclusive rights to develop and market oil produced in northeastern Syria after obtaining a sanctions waiver from the U.S. government.


Nader Qalei has been acquitted of charges that he had violated Canada’s economic sanctions against Syria, according to Canadian media.


Cham Capital LLC, a brokerage firm partially owned by Rami Makhlouf, is preparing to close soon, according to a source in the brokerage sector, a move highlighting the ongoing toll of the spat between the government with one of Syria’s most prominent businessmen.


A new attempt by Rami Makhlouf to lift sanctions imposed by the European Union on his companies and two family members failed again this month.


Dozens of fires in the provinces of Lattakia, Tartous Homs and Hama have caused large-scale damage to agricultural areas and led to the evacuation of many people from their homes and lands.


It has been called "Syria's Solidere". What was once the informal Damascus neighbourhood of Basateen Al-Razi is today being ostensibly "reconstructed" as Marota City, a luxury real estate development financed by figures close to the government. The main company behind the project is Damascus Cham Holding, established in 2016 to finance Marota City.


Romania has seized a shipment of Captagon pills originating from Syria, confirming the country’s position as the world’s main producer of the drug as well as the drug’s importance for the local economy.


A recent report has suggested that only a fraction of Covid-19-related deaths in Syria have been counted, as one of the main critics of the government’s policy was dismissed from his position.


Tartous's Municipal Council announced in August that it was preparing to field investments in the area known as the "Tourism Area" just south of the coastal city, nearly five decades after the government expropriated the land.


The Syrian President has appointed a new government headed by Hussein Arnous, in which the ministers holding key portfolios remained unchanged.


The Syrian government has reportedly awarded Ihab Makhlouf the contract to manage seven duty-free markets on the country’s border areas just a few weeks after cancelling a similar contract with his brother Rami, according to local and regional media outlets.


The government is continuing its efforts to weaken Rami Makhlouf by putting one of his main companies under judicial custody. The company, Cham Holding, was at one point Syria’s largest holding and includes some 70 prominent businesspersons among its shareholders.


An American company has signed a contract with the Syrian Democratic Forces to develop oil production and marketing in northeastern Syria and has received a sanctions waiver from the U.S. administration.


Prices and trading volumes fell in the Damascus Securities Exchange last month as Syriatel was removed from one of the exchange’s two indices.


UPDATED on July 30, 2020: Following the closure of Rami Makhlouf’s microfinance bank, Asma Al-Assad is expanding the size and geographic presence of her financial institution.


Just a couple of weeks after kicking out Rami Makhlouf’s company, the government has issued a tender for investors to manage duty free outlets at the country’s border crossings.


The value of a single shipment of Captagon pills from Syria recently seized by Italian customs authorities represents more than the country’s total annual exports of goods. The Italians have pulled back from their initial claim that ISIS was behind the shipment.


The Syrian government has continued its campaign against Rami Makhlouf, effectively ending the operations of two more of his best-known business ventures, including his oldest and most recent ones, within a couple of days.


The table below lists 68 companies known to be affiliated with Rami Makhlouf.


Trading and investment in various field


The management of Syriatel has effectively shifted to the Syrian government after a Syrian court granted judicial custody of the company to a state entity.


The Caesar Act has hardly been implemented before starting to make its impact felt in Syria: the withdrawal of a Lebanese company from the market has suspended the ATM networks of most private banks operating in the country.


Syria’s two airlines have headed in opposite trajectories in recent weeks, possibly partly because of the rift between Rami Makhlouf and the Syrian president.


The Syrian currency collapsed last week, crossing both the 2,000 and 3,000 pound-per-dollar thresholds within a few days and creating panic in the market. The consequences on living conditions in Syria will be dramatic.


Stock prices and volumes jumped in May and the stock exchange announced the suspension of the Syriatel stock.


Just a few days after his appointment, Syria’s new minister of domestic trade—and potential future prime minister—Talal Al-Barazi, has started to make his presence known.