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Bilal Al-Na’al: The Assad-Aligned Business Mogul of Damascus, Whose Fall From Grace Signals Changing Times

Bilal Al-Na'al is a prominent Damascus-born businessman, known for his significant contributions in the real estate and investment sectors

Bilal Al-Na’al is a prominent Damascus-born businessman, known for his significant contributions in the real estate and investment sectors. His initial breakthrough was transforming a warehouse into “Qasioun Mall,” which marked his entry into the retail industry. Al-Na’al’s business growth paralleled his political ascent, securing influential positions in the Damascus Governorate and People’s Assembly. His portfolio expanded to include ventures like the “Big5” restaurant complex and roles in companies like Falcon Company and Max 5 Chemicals Company. Crucially, his career is marked by close ties with the Assad regime, particularly in implementing policies impacting property control in Damascus. These actions align with the regime’s strategies of demographic change and benefited businessmen aligned with Assad. Al-Na’al also formed strategic relationships with key regime figures and extended his influence internationally, engaging in Syrian-Chinese and Syrian-Belarusian business relations. However, recent shifts within the Syrian regime suggest a potential decline in his influence. Al-Na’al’s legacy is a blend of business success and political involvement, with his actions significantly affecting Syrian property rights and urban redevelopment. His story exemplifies the intricate connection between business and politics in Syria.

Early Life and Business Beginnings

Bilal Al-Na’al, a native of Damascus, began his career primarily in the real estate and investment sector. His early notable venture was the transformation of a warehouse of the General Consumer Corporation in the Barzeh area of Damascus into “Qasioun Mall.” This move, facilitated through a commercial deal with Damascus Governorate Council member Bisher Al-Sabban, marked his foray into the retail sector and set the foundation for his future business ventures.

Political Ascendancy and Business Expansion

Al-Na’al’s rise in the Syrian business world was closely intertwined with his political engagements. He secured positions of influence such as a member of the People’s Assembly for Damascus Governorate and the Damascus Governorate Council. His business portfolio expanded beyond the Qasioun Mall to include the ownership of the “Big5” restaurant complex. He also held significant roles in various companies, including Al-Naal Trading Company, Falcon Company, and Max 5 Chemicals Company, showcasing a diversification of his business interests.

Integration with the Assad Regime

A critical aspect of Al-Na’al’s career was his deep integration with the Assad regime’s controversial policies. He was particularly involved in the implementation of Decree No. 66 and Law No. 10, which facilitated the regime’s control over properties in Damascus, significantly impacting Syrian refugees and displaced persons. His role in these policies was part of a broader strategy of demographic change in Damascus, aimed at reducing population centers hostile to the regime and benefiting businessmen close to Assad.

Al-Na’al built strategic alliances with key figures in the regime, such as Fadi Saqr, leader of the National Defense militia in Damascus, and Ahmed Badr al-Din Hassoun, the former Mufti of Syria. These alliances extended into his business operations, notably in real estate development. His involvement with the Siaj Real Estate Development and Investment Company, founded by Hassoun’s sons, signified his deep engagement in the regime’s economic and political frameworks.

International Relations and Business Endeavors

Al-Na’al’s business acumen was not confined to Syria. He established significant connections internationally, being a member of the Russian-Syrian Business Center and the Syrian-Belarusian Businessmen Council. His chairmanship of the joint Syrian-Chinese parliamentary friendship committee further underscores his role in fostering international economic relations.

The Fall from Power and Current Challenges

The demolition of the “Big 5” mall, a property owned by Al-Na’al, symbolizes a shift in his fortunes. The changing dynamics within the Syrian regime, including the removal of his allies like Bisher al-Sabban, indicate a potential decline in his influence. Despite retaining considerable wealth, his current and future role in Syria’s economic and political landscape is increasingly uncertain, especially given the regime’s propensity for power shifts and the emergence of new players in the Syrian power matrix.

Bilal Al-Na’al’s legacy is complex, marked by his business success and political entanglements. His role in the Syrian economy, especially in the context of the Assad regime’s controversial policies, has garnered both attention and criticism. The public perception of Al-Na’al is shaped by his involvement in schemes that have significantly impacted the lives of many Syrians, particularly in the context of property rights and urban redevelopment.

In summary, Bilal Al-Na’al’s profile paints a picture of a businessman who leveraged political connections to build a diverse business empire, intertwined with the controversial policies of the Assad regime. His journey from a real estate entrepreneur to a figure entangled in the regime’s power dynamics illustrates the complex interplay of business and politics in Syria.

Bullet points

  • Founder of Qasioun Mall.
  • Partner in “Big Five” restaurants.
  • Founding partner in Abu Al-Jadi Investment Company.
  • Owner and General Manager of the International Slippers Trading Company, specializing in exporting and shipping goods from China.
  • General Manager of Falcon Company, specializing in tenders, guarding, and shipping.
  • Owner of Al-Naal Company, specializing in Customs Clearance.
  • Partner in RB Trading Company, focusing on the investment, operation, and management of commercial centers.
  • Executive in Max 5 Chemicals Company.
  • Owner of Slippers Factory, specializing in wooden furnishings and trade industries.
  • Partner in “Damskino Mall,” managed by the Kafarsouseh organization in Damascus.
  • Principal in Al-Amer Company.
  • Founding partner in Al-Sayed wa Al-Naal Company, [add a brief description of the company’s focus or industry].
  • Co-Founder of Selena Company.
  • Founding partner in Siaj Real Estate Development and Investment Company.
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hospitality Engineers Company.
  • Member of the Damascus Governorate Council.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of Damascus Holding Company.
  • Member of the Russian-Syrian Business Center.
  • Member of the Syrian-Belarusian Businessmen Council.

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