The Syrian Observatory reported that the security services "released most of those they arrested" who were working in Makhlouf institutions, including 41 employees in "Syriatel" and 57 others who were working in the humanitarian "Al-Bustan Association" which he headed. It also mentioned the release of 58 “officers and members of the regime forces” who were cooperating with his armed groups.
A former employee of "Syriatel" company, who asked not to be named, confirmed to AFP that "a number of employees and managers have been released," indicating that he personally knows four of them.
Makhlouf, the cousin of Bashar al-Assad, is locked in a conflict with the latter's government, the features of which began to loom on the horizon last summer. And he appealed to al-Assad to intervene to stop what he describes as “injustice” he is being subjected to by the authorities, which he said are seeking to overthrow him, after they asked him to pay sums owed to the Communications and Post Regulatory Authority for his company.
A few months ago, Makhlouf accused the security services of arresting his employees to pressure him to give up his companies, most notably Syriatel, which owns about seventy percent of the telecommunications market in Syria.