Wassim Qattan is a Damascene businessman who emerged among Syria’s business elite only a few years ago and is believed to be acting as a front for powerful regime personalities. Unknown prior to 2017, Mr Qattan has acquired several high-profile contracts from state institutions in the real estate and hospitality sectors. With little information on his source of wealth, he is widely believed to be acting as a front for wealthy and powerful regime personalities, even if the identity of his sponsor remains unclear.
Fares Shehabi (b. 1972), also known as Fares Ahmad Al-Shehabi, is a prominent Aleppan businessman who is mainly active in the pharmaceutical sector. Throughout the decade-long conflict, Mr Shehabi has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the regime.
Khodr Ali Taher, also known as Abou Ali Khodr, is a prominent Syrian businessman who grew increasingly influential in the last few years – an archetype of war profiteers in the country. In recent days, there have been several reports that Mr Taher has been arrested by the government or is on the run, highlighting the rapidly shifting allegiances and fragility of post-war business networks in Syria.
In his first visit to a country that is neither Russia nor Iran since the outbreak of the conflict in 2011, Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad travelled to the United Arab of Emirates last week to meet with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince. Although Syrian businessmen are optimistic about the economic prospects that may follow such a visit, western sanctions, among them the Caesar Act, will likely continue to deter and complicate investments in the country.
The government has issued measures prioritising food staples and commodities as the Ukrainian-Russian conflict continues to disrupt global supply chains. Meanwhile, the de-facto governments and authorities in Northern and Northeast Syria have not issued any mitigating measures despite surging food prices and supply shortages.
Syrian, Lebanese, and Jordanian officials have moved one step further towards implementing an electricity supply deal after signing an agreement in Beirut last week. Following the meeting, new details regarding the World Bank's potential role in financing the deal and the pricing of Jordan's exported energy were disclosed.