Khaldoun Makhluf

Khaldoun Adnan Makhluf is the son of Major General ‘Adnan Makhluf, former leader of the Syrian Arab Army’s Republican Guard. He is also a relative of Bashar al-Asaad through his mother, Anissa Makhluf, and is the cousin of Rami Makhluf.

Khaldoun Makhluf controls a large portion of the tourism and hotel sector in Syria. He owns and runs a number of companies, and is a Founding Partner in others. He is the General Director and Founding Partner of the Julia Dumna Group, which owns a large number of agencies for international airline companies. He is the General Director and Founding Partner of the following other companies: Engineering Systems Group, Inmaa Company, Al-Bowtaka Company, Buraq Company, Falsafah Company, Julia Dumna and Martini for Tourism Investments, Julia Dumna for Commerce and Marketing, al-Khayr for Investment, al-Oula for Real Estate Development and Investment, and Sien Company.

Khaldoun Makhluf also owns the Shahbandar Palace hotel in Damascus, the Coral Julia Dumna in Aleppo, the Julia Dumna restaurant in Damascus, and the Airport Taxi Company, as well as 10 million shares in the Emirati Air Arabia Company.[1] In July 2018, the Ministry of Tourism granted him a Tourism Qualification License at a cost of 750,000 Syrian pounds to establish the Coral Julia Dumna hotel in Damascus, which is to be administered by the Coral International Company.

As for official positions, Khaldoun Makhluf has worked as Commercial Manager for Syrian Air and was president of the Syrian-Jordanian Business Council.

Khaldoun Makhlouf’s capital comes from two main sources. His first source of capital comes from funds raised through his father ‘Adnan Makhlouf’s corruption, bribes, and blackmail activities committed under the cover of Basil al-Asaad. The second source is Rami Makhluf, the economic Leviathan of Syria, who distributes his investments to a large number of individuals to camouflage his business activities. Muhammad Firas Mansour, a former Public Relations employee of the Makhluf Commercial Group, confirmed this by claiming that “The company that Rami Makhluf runs is not a single company; it is a group of separate but interconnected companies. Rami Makhluf sits at the top of the pyramid, registering his companies in the names of relatives to dispel suspicion concerning his capital. Good examples of this practice are the Hani Makhluf Economic Group led by Hani Makhluf, and the Ramak Economic Group, which also owns a number of airplane, ship, and car companies.222[2]

Upon the outbreak of popular protests in March 2011, Khaldoun Makhluf established Shabiha groups in the city of Aleppo in partnership with the sons of former Minister of Irrigation Muhammad Radwan Martini. With the Martini family, Khaldoun Makhluf paid monthly salaries to shabiha fighters, provided them with light weapons, and then conscripted them into regime-aligned militias. These armed factions committed horrible violations against civilians in the city of Aleppo. Khaldoun Makhluf also helped form shabiha groups in the city of Lattakia, and he commands these groups personally.

‘Adnan Makhlouf’s partnership with the Martini family began amidst efforts to launder money from Iraq starting in 2003. Khaldoun Makhluf is not just a businessman who has employed capital that raised by his father under questionable circumstances. Khaldoun also helped Rami Makhluf circumvent sanctions, acting as a commercial façade for Rami and avoiding being subjected to sanctions himself. Khaldoun spends his time and business between Syria, the UAE, Russia, and EU member states, where he engages in his dubious business activities without impediment.

[1] Air Arabia,
[2] Sada al-Sham, “New Secrets About Rami Mahluf’s Economic ‘Empire,’”