Exiled uncle Rifaat al-Assad returns to Syria, he would play no political or social role

Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad has allowed his exiled uncle Rifaat to return to Syria, pro-government Al Watan newspaper said on Friday, citing sources.

“Rifaat Al-Assad arrived in Damascus yesterday, in order to prevent his imprisonment in France after a court ruling was issued and after the confiscation of his property and money in Spain as well,” it added.

He was handed a four year jail sentence earlier this year that he was unlikely to serve because of his age but the ruling cleared the way for all his property in France to be seized.

A former Syrian vice president who was sent into exile in the 1980s, Assad was living in France, where he was put under investigation for tax fraud and money-laundering.

Rifaat al-Assad is widely held responsible for the suppression of an Islamist uprising in 1982 against then-president Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father. Many thousands were killed.

His properties in Spain were confiscated before that on the back of a money laundering investigation as well.

He left Syria after a failed coup against Hafez al-Assad in 1984.

Arab Observer

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