Regime Blocks Shihabi’s Business Venture

The regime has blocked Fares al-Shihabi’s efforts to produce Syria’s first ventilator unit, with the businessman’s recent criticism thought to be behind the decision write Shaam News.

Head of the Aleppo Chamber of Industry and a former member of “the Clapping Council,” (editor’s note: this is a sarcastic reference to the People’s Council or Parliament) Fares al-Shihabi, had his commercial project, National Ventilator, rejected by the the regime’s Ministry of Health.

The move seemed to be a retaliatory measure in response to Shihabi’s publishing of scandals that revealed how the regime rigged the People’s Assembly elections and bought votes.

Tayseer Dirklet, who is the head of the technical team for National Ventilator — formerly known as “Hope” — revealed what he described as an impossible request by the health ministry, which decided that the new project should have the same specifications as its American competitor, Dragon.

In a press statement to a pro-regime radio station, Dirklet mentioned that

National Ventilator had promised to offer the health ministry the first national ventilator, which was welcomed by the regime.

He also expressed his fear that the decision to stand against the initiative might be for personal reasons, in a clear indication that the decision comes in response to the publications by Shihabi, which showed the regime’s tribulations in Aleppo.

Perhaps the clearest indication that the latest decision came in revenge is that the regime has previously participated in the promotion of the same product as well as the approval of the health ministry of what it described as the “optimal specifications” that distinguish the ventilator, and indicated that the product was very close to hitting the market, which is not true anymore, knowing the new conditions set by the ministry.

The health ministry’s change of heart comes on the heels of its previous decision to refuse to authorize National Ventilator to proceed with production, days after Shihabi made his Facebook post. Shihabi commented on his loss of membership of “the Clapping Council” as revenge and an attempt to weaken the overall industrial estate, accusing the Islamic State of being behind it.

Shihabi also referred to his reluctance to run in the elections, as, according to him, it seems clear from the beginning that the elections are being tampered with. However, he decided to take a risk and commit to being a modern civil model in the elections, which made him lose seat in “the Clapping Council.”

Shihabi’s posts ignited fiery responses from the regime’s mouthpiece, Shadi Helwa, who is said to be close with the al-Qatirji militia.

It appears that Shihabi was in a hurry, working against a tight deadline to announce his commercial project to raise his chances ahead of “the Clapping Council” elections, which have already been postponed three times, until they ended up taking place on Jul. 19, 2020.

The Aleppo Chamber of Industry had previously promoted Shihabi’s product through publications by Shihabi, who had been talking about the production of the first national ventilator and calling it Hope. He also said that the device was going to be produced and sold according to the Aleppo Chamber of Industry’s specifications.

Shihabi is considered one of the influential pro-regime figures. He is one of the most wealthy people in Aleppo and one of the loudest voices demanding the extermination of anti-regime Syrians.

This shows how the regime deals with its supporters, in a way that is redolent of Assad’s recent conflict with Rami Makhlouf.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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