On June 7, the Washington-based opposition party did not cite Makhlouf's
destination. The Syrian industrialist has been sanctioned by both the
European Union and the United States.
RPS said Makhlouf transferred billions of dollars to safe havens outside
Syria. The group said Makhlouf was believed
to have been aided by several allies of Syria.
"Since Mr. Makhlouf has been sanctioned by the United States in 2006 and
more recently by the EU, it is highly likely he is heading to a location
able to provide protection for the billions he has stashed under fake
Syrian, Iranian or Venezuelan passports," RPS said.
RPS did not say why Makhlouf fled Syria. But other opposition sources
said senior officials were beginning to fear for their safety, particularly
for their families who live outside Damascus.
On June 6, the Assad regime asserted that 80 police and security
officers were killed in Jisr Al Shughour, located near the Syrian border
with Turkey. The assertion came amid reports that anti-Assad forces were
organizing militias to protect towns and cities from regime assaults.
The opposition said close relatives of other senior regime members
have also fled Syria. In May, Assad's British-born wife, Asma, left for
London in what the opposition speculated was an attempt to prepare for
The flight of the Syrian elite was reported as anti-Assad demonstrations
reached unprecedented proportions. On June 4, an estimated 100,000
Syrians called for Assad's ouster amid the killing of up to 120 civilians
by security forces.