Last updated: 6 June, 2012

Syrian expat businessmen offer $300 million to rebels

A group of expat Syrian businessmen announced in Qatar on Wednesday the creation of a $300 million (239 million euro) fund to support the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.

Mustafa Sabbagh, chairman of the newly created Syrian Business Forum, said “the businessmen of Syria… offer their full and clear support to the revolution against (Assad’s) dictatorial regime.”

Businessman Khaled Khouja told a news conference the SBF would offer the rebel Free Syrian Army “medical equipment and technological materiel to facilitate its communications in Syria.”

Neither Sabbagh nor Khouja elaborated on how the money would be raised and how much, if any, was already available.

However, Sabbagh said $150 million had already been given to the rebels, but he did not provide any details.

Meanwhile, Wael Mirza, one of the SBF’s leaders, said the forum planned to join the opposition coalition Syrian National Council.

The SBF has a seven-person board of directors, of which three would represent business people inside Syria, Sabbagh said. He added that trips were planned to donor countries, particularly the oil-rich Arab monarchies in the Gulf.