Syrian tycoon Rami Makhlouf said in a new Facebook video on Sunday that the targeting of his main telecoms businesses will harm “his folks”, a reference to the core Alawite constituency of the regime of his cousin Bashar Al Assad.
Wearing a brown blazer over a black T-shirt, Mr Makhlouf said moves to take over Syriatel, the country’s largest private company, which he controls, would lead to the demise of the company.
Mr Makhlouf’s videos over the past month have opened a rare window into the murky world of the business dealings and amassed fortunes of Syria's ruling inner circle, estimated in the billions of dollars.
“We have to try to bypass this stage with the minimum of possible damage,” Mr Makhlouf said. “God lends patience to our folks who are regrettably being damaged from the actions being taken.”
The fallen tycoon said at the beginning of this month that the regime had begun arresting managers at his companies and criticised the Alawite-dominated security apparatus, in an escalation of the mafia-style rift within the Assad family.
Mr Makhlouf said on Sunday that Syriatel employees were still incarcerated and he had not been able to get them, without giving details.
“This style will only lead to the destruction of the company,” he said, describing Syriatel as a revenue stream to the treasury and provider of 6,500 jobs.