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Syria crisis

Bashar al-Assad's family likely worth $1-2 billion, US report says

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's family is likely worth $1-2 billion, the US State Department said Thursday, despite US-led efforts to isolate him over the brutal war.

In a report required by Congress, the State Department said it could only provide an “inexact estimate” with the Assads believed to hold assets under fictitious names or through opaque property dealings.

“Estimates based on open-source information generally put the Assad family net worth at between $1-2 billion,” said the publicly released part of the report, some of which was classified.

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Quoting non-governmental and media reports, the State Department said that the Assads run “a complex patronage system including shell companies and corporate facades that serves as a tool for the regime to access financial resources.”

The estimate includes the president's wife, brother, sister, cousins and uncle, most of whom are under US sanctions.

The State Department said it did not have enough information on the net worth of the president's three children, the youngest of whom is 17.

The US Congress has led sanctions that aim to prevent a return to business as usual with Assad, who has regained control over most of Syria after a decade of war estimated to have killed nearly half a million people.

The United States has called for accountability after wide concerns about human rights.

But much of the region is moving on, with Assad in March visiting the United Arab Emirates in his first official visit to an Arab country since the war broke out.

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