The Syrian regime's intelligence services arrested 15 high-ranking army officers and officials on charges of "dealing with foreign entities and embezzlement".
However, the Al-Arab newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying that the officers are known for their close ties to business tycoon, Rami Makhlouf who had been engaged in a battle of influence with the regime.
According to the sources, the officers recently pledged "to burn the earth in the event any harm is brought to Rami Makhlouf".
This brings to 71 the number of people arrested for their alleged loyalty to Makhlouf; they include managers, employees, technicians and army officers.
In April, the Syrian regime started a security campaign to take over companies owned by Makhlouf, who is President Bashar Al-Assad's cousin.
Once at the heart of Al-Assad's inner circle, Makhlouf has quarrelled with the authorities over funds which the government says are owed by his mobile phone company Syriatel.