(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- In what is being seen as a significant concession to protesters but one that likely won't calm them, Syrian President Bashar Assad's first cousin, confidante, and the country's most powerful businessman, announced Thursday that he is stepping away from his many for-profit businesses.
According to state TV, Rami Makhlouf will instead dedicate himself to charity work.
Makhlouf is a business magnate that owns, among several other ventures, 40 percent of Syria's largest cellphone operating company, reports Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). He was slapped with U.S. sanctions in 2008 for profiting off of corruption, a move he called "an honor."
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