Following economic crisis: Syria's Assad sacks PM Khamis

Following economic crisis: Syria's Assad sacks PM Khamis”

Khamis, 58, had been Syria's prime minister since 2016.

A pro-Assad and anti-US protest takes place in Damascus on Friday in response to days of anti-Assad demonstrations in Sweida. Media reported that the national currency had fallen against the U.S. dollar over the recent days, prompting prices for life necessities to significantly soar.

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

- Skyrocketing cost of living -At one point this week it peaked at 3,000 pounds to the dollar, more than four times the official rate of around 700, and 60 times its pre-war rate from 2011. Prices of basic goods have skyrocketed while some staples have disappeared from the market as merchants and the public struggled to keep up with the rising cost of living.

This week, rare protests broke out in the Druze-majority government-held province of Suweida, where demonstrators called for the overthrow of the regime and criticized its handling of the economy.

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.

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Khamis was the sixth prime minister to serve under Assad, who has ruled the country since 2000.

Ali told the radio late Wednesday that the Central Bank "forcefully interfered" to stop the depreciation of the currency, calling it part of an "economic war" against Syria. Washington will continue its targeted sanctions and increased economic pressure on Assad's government, it said, "until there is irreversible progress on the political process", including a nationwide cease-fire.

The country has been wracked by a brutal nine-year civil war, which began in 2011 after security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters. More than 400,000 have been killed, millions displaced and large parts of the country remain outside of government control.

Parliamentary polls had been due in Syria earlier this year, but were postponed twice due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. But testing is lacking and authorities have reported only 152 cases and six deaths in government-controlled parts of the country.

Engineer Hussein Arnous, public works minister, has been appointed as his replacement.

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