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Assad's Suspected Murderous Uncle Sells Paris Mansion for $100 Million

By    |   Friday, 28 Jun 2013 10:00 AM

Former Syrian Vice President Rifaat al-Assad — who is believed responsible for the killing of more than 25,000 of his countrymen — has sold a Paris mansion overlooking the Arc de Triomphe for 70 million euros (nearly $100 million), the London Telegraph reported this week.

The 12,000-foot mansion, which has its own sports hall and underground swimming pool, is believed to have been sold to a Russian billionaire.

Rifaat Assad, uncle of current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, had been the much-feared boss of a top Syrian paramilitary unit until 1983, when he was forced to leave the country after an unsuccessful attempt to seize power from his brother, then-President Hafez al-Assad.

He is hated by many in Syria for his role in suppressing a 1982 uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama. An estimated 10,000 to 25,000 Syrians died in the February 1982 massacre in which entire districts were razed to the ground, earning him the nickname “Butcher of Hama.”

Rifaat Assad, whose properties include another Paris mansion and a country estate, is believed to want to sell his holdings for fear that the French government might try to seize them.

Since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, the United States and the European Union have frozen the assets of approximately 150 people deemed responsible for the “violent repression of the civilian population in Syria.”

While the opposition Syrian National Council has called for Rifaat Assad to be subject to international sanctions like current Syrian government officials, he has thus far not been targeted.
Rifaat — reportedly protected by dozens of bodyguards who taste his food to protect him from being poisoned considers himself Bashar’s legitimate successor.

He recently predicted his nephew would not be able to remain in power much longer.

Meanwhile, Rifaat’s son Ribal is also in the news. Ribal al-Assad, who lives in exile in Britain, is traveling in the United States denouncing both the Assad government and the Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow it.

In an interview with the New York Times, Ribal ( forced to flee Syria with his family as a child after his father lost the intra-family power struggle three decades ago)) said many Syrians were sticking with the current regime “because they fear they will be replacing the devil they know with something that’s much worse.”

Ribal, educated in the United States, has founded a group called the “Organization for Democracy and Freedom in Syria,” which describes him as an “international campaigner for democracy and human rights.”

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MiddleEast
Former Syrian Vice President Rifaat al-Assad — who is believed responsible for the killing of more than 25,000 of his countrymen — has sold a Paris mansion overlooking the Arc de Triomphe for 70 million euros (nearly $100 million), the London Telegraph reported this week.
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