Relatively unknown prior to 2011, Samer Foz became one of Syria’s most powerful economic players following the conflict, being likened at one point to the business magnate and maternal cousin to the president, Rami Makhlouf. Despite leading a high profile during his heyday, Mr Foz has withdrawn from the public eye in recent years after being sanctioned and apparently being sidelined by the regime.
A French appeals court recently ruled against cement giant Lafarge in the latest setback for the multinational company during a five-year legal battle over its past activities in Syria.
On Tuesday, France's Court of Cassation overturned an earlier decision by a lower court to dismiss the charges of complicity in crimes against humanity brought against the multinational cement manufacturer, Lafarge.
Sales of cement in Syria increased by around 17 percent last year, indicating an increase in construction activity despite the Covid-19 pandemic and a significant drop in the population’s purchasing power.
MTN, a telecoms group based in South Africa, has announced that it is negotiating to sell its stake in one of the country’s two mobile phone companies, marking the exit of the last large foreign investor still present in Syria.
Preliminary data indicate that demand for cement, a proxy for construction activity, was at best stable last year.