Syria’s Assad replaces prime minister: State media

AMMAN (REUTERS) – Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Thursday (June 11) removed prime minister Imad Khamis from the post he has occupied since 2016, state media said, in a move that follows weeks of deepening economic hardship.

State media did not give a reason for the sudden decision, announced in a presidential decree that designated water resources minister Hussein Arnous as Mr Khamis’ successor.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad removed prime minister Imad Khamis from the post he has occupied since 2016.
Syrian President Bashar al Assad removed prime minister Imad Khamis from the post he has occupied since 2016.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

But Syria has been in the throes of an economic crisis, with the currency plunging to record lows in recent days, aggravating hardships for ordinary Syrians battered by years of war.

Mr Arnous, 67, currently minister of water resources, was born in Idlib and had served in a long succession of government posts, including governor of Deir Zor province that borders Iraq and Quneitra province in southern Syria.

The currency hit a record 3,000 Syrian pounds to the dollar earlier this week in a rapidly accelerating free-fall. It traded at 47 pounds to the dollar at the start of the conflict.

Syrian authorities blame Western sanctions for widespread hardship among ordinary residents, where the currency collapse has led to soaring prices and people struggling to afford food and basic supplies.

The government has criticised a wave of new, tighter US sanctions, known as the Caesar Act, which takes effect later this month which economists and politicians say will further tighten the noose around Mr Assad’s government.

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