Syria dictator Bashar Al-Assad's family likely worth $1-2b: US report
Syrian dictator President Bashar Al-Assad's family is likely worth $1-2 billion, the US State Department said on Thursday, despite American-led efforts to isolate him over his brutality towards his people during Syria's ongoing war.
In a report required by Congress, the State Department said it could only provide an "inexact estimate", with the Assads believed to hold assets under fictitious names or through opaque property dealings.
"Estimates based on open-source information generally put the Assad family net worth at between $1-2 billion," said the publicly released part of the report, some of which was classified.
Quoting non-governmental and media reports, the State Department said that the Assads run "a complex patronage system including shell companies and corporate facades that serves as a tool for the regime to access financial resources."
The estimate includes Assad's wife, brother, sister, cousins and uncle, most of whom are under US sanctions.
The State Department said it did not have enough information on the net worth of the dictator's three children, the youngest of whom is 17.
The US Congress has led sanctions that aim to prevent a return to business as usual with Assad, who has regained control over most of Syria after a decade of ongoing war estimated to have killed nearly half a million people.
The United States has called for accountability after wide concerns about human rights.
During the war, which began in 2011, the regime has been accused of committing grave abuses of its people, including deadly chemical weapons attacks.
Over 1,400 people were killed in Eastern Ghouta in 2013 in a suspected sarin attack.
Syrians could be jailed for up to 15 years for minor criticism of the Assad regime following amendments to existing cybercrime laws https://t.co/qfoR2uFzw1— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) April 22, 2022
This was one of "at least 50 times" chemical weapons have been employed by the regime during the war, according to the US.
Fighting continues, including in the rebel-held areas of Idlib province, where four schoolchildren were killed after regime forces shelled the town of Maarat Al-Naasan earlier this month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
But despite the regime's ruthlessness, much of the Middle East is starting to normalise ties with Assad.
The dictator in March visited the United Arab Emirates in his first official visit to an Arab country since the war broke out.