Medical personnel in Damascus, Syria, March 19, 2020

Businessman Mohamad Makhlouf, the uncle of Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad, died on Saturday from Coronavirus.

“Two sources close to his family” told AF of the passing of Makhlouf, 88, who had been hospitalized in Damascus since August 23. His grandson Mohammad posted a message of mourning on Facebook.

Makhlouf was the father of billionaire tycoon Rami Makhlouf, now embroiled in a feud with Assad as the regime seizes his businesses and assets. His sister was Assad’s mother Anisa Makhlouf.

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The Health Ministry announced two deaths on Saturday, raising the official toll to 152, and a rise of cases to 3,506 with 30 in 24 hours.

But medics, activists, and residents say the actual toll in regime-held areas is far higher. A model from the London School of Economics projected 2 million infections by the end of August without containment measures.

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Medics and relief workers say scores of medical personnel have died in recent weeks. Witnesses and cemetery officials report a tripling of burials since July in ground south of Damascus.

Syrian State media have not mentioned Mohammad Makhlouf’s death.