Newly-elected Syrian MP linked to Lebanese petroleum-sector firms

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The following is an English-language version of Levant Network research prepared for Akhbar Alaan.

A newly-elected member of Syria’s parliament has business interests in petroleum trading firms based in neighboring Lebanon, an investigation prepared by Levant Networks for Akhbar Alaan has found.

A review of corporate records also reveal that Subhi Abbas, who was elected from the Rif Dimashq governorate on July 19, has partnered with a Syrian businessman accused of war profiteering and smuggling.

In 2017, Abbas, a native of the Syrian coastal town of Jableh, co-founded two companies in Lebanon named Al-Etihad Petroleum SARL and Oil Stream SAL Offshore.

Image of Subhi Abbas via شبكة أخبار جبله الأولى Facebook page.

Abbas holds a 20% stake in Oil Stream SAL Offshore, which is based in Lebanon’s capital Beirut. 

The company’s other owners include a Canadian national, a Lebanese businessman as well as a Lebanese holding company active in the gas sector, according to Lebanon’s online corporate register.

Abbas is also a minority shareholder of Al-Etihad Petroleum, which is based in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. The firm’s other owners include a Lebanese national and a mysterious Syrian businessman named Rami al-Tabbal.

In May, a pro-Syria regime Nahna al-Balad Facebook news page posted a report accusing Rami al-Tabbal of smuggling and war profiteering.

The report alleged that al-Tabbal rose in influence from being a driver of diesel tanker trucks at the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011 to becoming a leading gasoline smuggler in the countryside of Aleppo.

According to Nahna al-Balad, al-Tabbal’s fortune was thanks to his close ties to Suheil al-Hassan, the commander of the elite Tiger Forces unit of the Syrian army. 

The report added that al-Hassan’s office manager, Fouad Andan, is a son-in-law al-Tabbal.

Nahna al-Balad’s accusations were republished by Facebook pages supportive of the regime’s National Defense Forces militia.  

Image of Rami al-Tabbal via @National.Defence.Forces.NDF Facebook page.

Levant Networks could not independently verify Nahna al-Balad’s accusations regarding al-Tabbal’s smuggling activities and links to al-Hassan. 

However, Levant Networks was able to confirm another one of Nahna al-Balad’s claims, that al-Tabbal formed companies in Lebanon for the trade of petroleum.

Other than Al-Etihad Petroleum, al-Tabbal was also one of the founders of S.R.COMPANY – SERCO SARL, a Beirut-based firm registered for the “import, export, sale and purchase of oil and its derivatives.”

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