Anisa Makhlouf

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Anisa Makhlouf
Anisa Makhlouf.jpg
Makhlouf in 1970
First Lady of Syria
In office
March 12, 1971 – June 10, 2000
President Hafez al-Assad
Preceded by ?
Succeeded by Najat Marqabi (interim)
Asma al-Assad
Personal details
Born 1930
Latakia, Alawite State, Syria
Died February 6, 2016(2016-02-06) (aged 85–86)
Damascus , Syria
Political party Ba'ath Party (Syrian faction)
Spouse(s) Hafez al-Assad (1957–2000; his death)

Bushra (b. 1960)
Bassel (1962–1994)
Bashar (b. 1965)
Majd (1966–2009)

Maher (b. 1968)
Religion Alawite

Anisa Makhlouf, sometimes spelled Aniseh Makhlouf, (1930 – February 6, 2016) was the Syrian matriarch of the Al-Assad family, which has ruled the country since 1971. The wife of the late President Hafez al-Assad, Makhlouf held the position of First Lady of Syria from 1971 until 2000. Her five children include Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria since 2000.[1][2][3] The Economist has described Makhlouf as "a formidable figure" within the Al-Assad and the Syrian regime.[2] A highly influential member of the regime, she was one of the few people with whom Bashar al-Assad regularly consulted during the Syrian Civil War.[2][4] Makhlouf is believed to have advocated for a heavy, military crackdown on Syrian protesters and rebels during the ongoing Civil War.[2]

Makhlouf was born in 1930 in Latakia, Syria, to the Makhloufs, an influential family from Latakia Governorate.[1][2][5] She married Hafez al-Assad, an officer of the Syrian Arab Air Force, in 1957.[1] They had five children: Bushra (b. 1960), Bassel al-Assad (1962–1994), Bashar al-Assad (b. 1965), Majd al-Assad (1966–2009), and Maher al-Assad. Her marriage to Hafez al-Assad elevated the status and wealth of the Makhlouf family.[4] Anisa Makhlouf's relatives were awarded lucrative contracts within the country's banking, oil and telecommunication sectors.[4] One of her nephews, Rami Makhlouf, is believed to be the wealthiest man in Syria, with a net worth of $5 billion USD, as of 2012.[4]

Following the death of Bassel al-Assad in 1994, Makhlouf favored Maher al-Assad, her youngest son and a Syrian general, as a possible successor for her husband.[3] Instead, Bashar al-Assad returned from London, joined the military, and succeeded his father as President of Syria in 2000.[3]

Makhlouf is believed to have advocated for a harsh crackdown on protesters and rebels during the Arab Spring and Syrian Civil War.[2] In 2012, Makhlouf, as well as other members of the Al-Assad family, were slapped with sanctions by the European Union amid the country's civil war and attacks on protesters by the al-Assad regime.[1] The EU sanctions included a travel ban and the freezing of her assets.[1] Prior to the travel ban, Makhlouf had reportedly made frequent trips to Germany for medical treatment.[1]


Anisa Makhlouf, who was believed to be 86, died in Damascus on February 6, 2016.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Syrian president's mother Anissa Assad dies aged 86". Al Jazeera English. 2016-02-06. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "The Assad family: Where are they now?". The Economist. 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  3. ^ a b c Ali, Nour (2011-10-11). "At home with the Assads: Syria's ruthless ruling family". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d Dow, Nicole (2012-07-18). "Getting to know Syria's first family". CNN. Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  5. ^ Bacias, Amanda (2016-02-06). "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's mother has died". Reuters (Business Insider). Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  6. ^ "Bashar al-Assad's mother has fled Syria, US ambassador claims". The Daily Telegraph. 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2016-03-02.