Assassination attempt targets Syrian son of 'Russia’s man'

Son of Syrian businessman linked to Beirut blast escapes assassination attempt
3 min read
22 January, 2021
Gunmen opened fire on Bassel Haswani in Yabroud, just days after his father was linked to the purchase of the shipment of ammonium nitrate that exploded in Beirut.
Bassel Haswani was not injured in the assassination attempt [Facebook/Bassel Haswani]
Unknown gunman have opened fire on the son of George Haswani, a prominent Syrian businessman who was recently implicated in reports about the devastating 4 August explosion that killed more than 200 people and caused $15 billion worth of damage. 

Bassel Haswani, a businessman himself, was fired upon in his hometown of Yabroud, north of Damascus

Residents of Yarbroud confirmed the shooting to Alhurra, confirming he was not injured in the incident. 

Bassel owns the Damascus-based Masa Oil Company and has strong ties to the Assad regime

Bassel’s father, George, was recently made the subject of much speculation when on 12 January the Lebanese TV station Al Jadeed TV named him as one of the businessmen responsible for the purchase of the shipment of ammonium nitrate that exploded in Beirut, causing mass devastation. 

According to the report by Firas Hatoum, Savaro Ltd. purchased the chemicals in 2013 and filings with Companies House in the UK, show that the listed addresses for Savaro were previously owned or operated by the Syrian businessman George Haswani and two other Syrian businessmen - brothers Mudalal and Imad Khuri.

George Haswani has long been a prominent figure in Syria and a staunch ally of Assad’s regime. George Haswani, and his son, are known to have operated a militia group in Yabroud, and George has also been accused of having dealings with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State (IS). 

The US added George Haswani to their sanctions list in 2015, claiming that he facilitated the transfer of oil from IS-held areas to the regime. 

George Haswani, who holds dual Syrian-Russian nationality currently resides in Russia with his daughter. 

His son Bassel remains in Syria and has been following in his fathers footsteps, trading oil derivatives and building oil-related installations, and is often seen armed and accompanied by militia members.

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No group has claimed responsibility for the attack that targeted Bassel, but possible theories have been speculated.

In an interview with Alhurra, Syrian journalist and the founder of the website All4Syria, Ayman Abdel Nour, explained that, “there are two theories. The first being that Bassel needed an excuse to leave Syria and go to Russia, where his father and sister have been living as of late, so he orchestrated the attempt.

“The second theory is that the assassination attempt is a direct message from the Syrian regime to George Haswani regarding the circumstances of the Beirut port explosion, since George played the role of a mediator in shipping the ammonium nitrate, in return for a financial commission,” according to Nour.

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