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Hafez Makhlouf
حافظ مخلوف
Personal details
Born 2 April 1971(1971-04-02) (age 51)
Damascus, Syria
Nationality Syrian
Political party Syrian Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
Religion Alawite
Military service
Rank Colonel

Hafez Makhlouf (Arabic language: حافظ مخلوف‎‎; born 2 April 1971) is a Syrian colonel and head of internal branch at the General Security Directorate.[1] He is a part of Assad's inner circle.[2]

Early life

Makhlouf was born in Damascus on 2 April 1971.[3] He is the maternal cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the brother of Rami Makhlouf, Syria's leading businessman. Hafez Makhlouf is perhaps best known for being one of the two survivors of the high-speed car crash in 1994 that killed Bashar al-Assad's elder brother, Bassel al-Assad, who was being groomed to succeed their father, Hafez al-Assad.[4]


Makhlouf is a colonel and the head of intelligence at the General Security Directorate's Damascus branch.[5][6]


Makhlouf was sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury in 2007 for "undermining the sovereignty of Lebanon or its democratic processes and institutions." The sanctions called for freezing "any assets the designees may have located in the United States", and prohibited U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with these individuals".[7] In May 2011, the EU imposed sanctions against Makhlouf, saying he was an "associate of Maher Assad" who "bankrolls the regime allowing violence against demonstrators" and had been "involved in violence against demonstrators" as head of the GSD's Damascus branch.[6] The US treasury department also announced new sanctions against him in May 2011, stating that Makhlouf had been "given a leading role in responding to protests in Syria, and was heavily involved in the Syrian regime's actions in Deraa, where protesters were killed". Opposition activists argued that Makhlouf enjoys greater influence over the president than the head of the General Security Directorate, Ali Mamlouk. Swiss authorities froze Hafez Makhlouf's account of about 3 million euros in a Geneva bank for suspected money laundering in 2011.[8] In February 2012, Makhlouf won a legal bid to unfreeze SFr 3 million ($3.3 million) held in bank accounts in Switzerland[9] after he appealed, saying it predated sanctions.[8] However, his legal bid to enter Switzerland to meet with his lawyers was rejected by Switzerland's supreme court at the end of 2011.[10]

Conflicting reports on death

On 18 July 2012, Al Arabiya reported that Makhlouf was killed in a bombing which targeted Syria's National Security headquarters in Damascus.[11] Other sources however indicated that he was only wounded in the attack.[12]

See also

  • Assad family


  1. "By All Means Necessary!". Human Rights Watch. December 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  2. "Bashar al-Assad's inner circle". 18 May 2011. 
  3. "List of persons and entities referred to in articles 3 and 4". Official Journal of the European Union. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  4. Sipress, Alan (22 January 1994). "Assad's Son is Killed in a Car". Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  5. Kaphie, Anud (18 July 2012). "Who’s who in Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle?". Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "List of peoples". 24 May 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  7. Sharp, Jeremy M. (9 August 2011). "Unrest in Syria and U.S. Sanctions Against the Asad Regime" (CRS Report for Congress). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Inman, Phillip (21 July 2012). "Assad keeps it all in the family with a hoard up to $1.5bn". Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  9. "Assad cousin wins case to unfreeze Swiss assets". 10 February 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  10. Jordans, Frank (1 January 2012). "Assad cousin denied visa to Switzerland". Retrieved 20 July 2012. 
  11. "Bomb kills Syria defense minister, Assad’s brother-in-law and key aides". 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  12. Jansen, Michael (19 July 2012). "Syrian bombing: Key regime figures killed in attack". Retrieved 20 July 2012. 

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