In Focus |Caesar's sanctions target Asma al-Assad illicit network
One year passed after the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act was signed into law, and it went into force six months ago before a new set of sanctions has been approved that included the Central Bank of Syria for the first time, in addition to targeting the depth of Asma al-Assad's economic network, including her immediate relatives of the Al-Akhras family. The sanctions included Asma's father, mother, and two brothers, all of whom are Syrian citizens with British citizenship. The designated individuals are believed to be doing commercial and political activities for Asma al-Assad, including public relations campaigns and doing business on her behalf.
The sanctions also targeted Asma al-Assad’s advisor in the Republican Palace, Lina Mohammed Nazir al-Kinayeh, and her husband, a member of the People's Assembly, Mohammed Hammam Mohammed Adnan Masouti, who worked in the Ministry of Education and headed one of the departments of Al-Assad University Hospital, before he launched a number of companies in partnership with his wife "Lina," who was the assistant of Asma at the "Syrian Trust for Development", a charitable foundation established by Asma since 2001. Lina, in partnership with her husband and two daughters, Lia and Tia Masouti, established a number of companies that made large profits on behalf of the “First Lady”, as four of their direct commercial alliances that generate money for Asma al-Assad were directly targeted with the new sanctions.
Since the beginning of the current year - and more than ever before - Asma al-Assad's appearance and presence in the Syrian public affairs has grown, after a campaign to expand her popularity based on her care for the war-wounded and children and the story of her cure from cancer she talked about, as she started to appear with her husband-Bashar- with no other person from the latter’s family - contrary to usual - where walls of some Syrian provinces are filled with their (Bashar & Asma) pictures.
On the other hand, Asma al-Assad seemed to be more oriented to controlling the joints of the Syrian economy, not only through her own uncle, the well-known businessman, "Tarif al-Akhras," but by establishing a group of institutions and companies that work either on behalf, in cooperation with or directly with her.
It seems that Asma is trying hard to control the various economic networks in the country, including those linked to Maher al-Assad or her husband or those she tries to keep them away from the al-Assad family in early 2019, as the woman cooperated with businessman, Khader Ali Taher, the main arm of the Maher al-Assad-led Fourth Division in order to establish the "Ematel Company", which started selling the “iPhone” only 12 days after it was launched at the company's headquarters in the United States of America, as Mrs. Assad was involved in a conflict with Rami Makhlouf that seems to have been decided in her favor to become the “First Lady” in trade as she is in politics.
Through these sanctions, the United States of America is trying to focus more on the Asma al-Assad economic network and to prevent it from progressing towards playing a greater role in the country’s economics and politics, and it seems that we will witness an expansion of these names were targeted in the sanctions in the coming period.
The recent sanctions against Asma al-Assad and her network are putting pressure on U.K., of which Asma and her immediate relatives hold nationality, and most of the family members still reside there. It would be unusual for individuals targeted by the United States to pursue a normal life in Britain, without also being targeted by British sanctions.
Unit of Analysis and Thinking - Jusoor for Studies
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