Is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad involved in the explosion of the port of Beirut?

Is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad involved in the explosion of the port of Beirut?

An investigation by a Lebanese director into the terrible outbreak has highlighted new links between the brokerage company in the ammonium nitrate trading company and three businessmen close to the Damascus rais

(photo: Haytham El Achkar / Getty Images) An investigation by Lebanese director Firas Hatoum, just aired on the local television network Al-Jadeed, has brought to light new revelations about last August's devastating explosion in the port of Beirut, in Lebanon. The incident could be linked to three influential businessmen, George Haswani, Mudalal Khuri and his brother Imad Khuri, with close ties to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who they supported since the first months of the civil war in Syria, which broke out in 2011. The Hatoum investigation for the first time raises the possibility that the detonation of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in Beirut may have been collateral damage caused by the Syrian regime's attempts to procure explosives for use in its own weapons.

Haswani and the two Khuri brothers have Russian-Syrian citizenship and have all been sanctioned by the United States for supporting Assad's war effort. The two business companies linked to Haswani and Imad Khuri shared their London address with Savaro Limited, the shell company (canceled last Tuesday by the London Companies House) that had purchased the nitrate in 2013. The official destination of the cargo was the Mozambique, but had been hijacked and dumped in Lebanon, in Beirut, where it was stored in unsafe conditions in the port area, until the catastrophic explosion in August 2020.

As the Guardian reports, Mudalal Khuri was accused by the US Treasury Department of attempting to stock up on ammonium nitrate months before the Russian merchant ship Rhosus docked in the Lebanese capital, halfway through its tortuous journey from Georgia to Mozambique. The opacity and mystery with which the sudden change of course took place feed the suspicion that Beirut was, from the very beginning, the intended destination of a sophisticated smuggling operation headed for Syria.

L The Hatoum investigation has shaken the ruling class of Beirut, which is following the investigation conducted by the Lebanese judicial system into the explosion. Prime Minister Hassan Diab, three former ministers and more than 30 low-level officials were charged with negligence in connection with the disaster, which killed more than 200 people and devastated the capital's port suburbs. "I doubt Lebanon will be able to resolve an investigation for many reasons, considering the way things have been handled" in the months following the explosion, the director himself told the Guardian. “And I don't trust any foreign or international investigation because we have had a bad experience in the past and politics always gets in the way.”

Despite the difficulties in tracking, due to the large number of shell companies involved , Interpol this week issued notices of arrest for three figures deemed relevant to the Beirut investigation. Namely, Russian citizens Igor Grechushkin, who is believed to be the owner of the freighter Rhosus, and Borys Prokoshew, who was the captain of the ship at the time, along with Jorge Moreira, a Portuguese who allegedly bought nitrate from the Georgian Rustavi Azot factory. .

Now, according to the Guardian, the focus of the investigation would be the search for why a shell company such as Savaro Limited was used to mediate the explosive sale agreement with a Mozambican company , Fabrica de Explosivos de Mocambique, connected to a very prominent family in the African country.

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