In Focus | Syria

New ministers to handle ravaged economy

Oil, finance, social affairs, labour, housing and agriculture officials changed

  • AP
  • Published: 16:57 February 9, 2013
  • Gulf News

Damascus: President Bashar Al Assad has reshuffled his Cabinet, appointing new ministers to handle an economy ravaged by two years of uprising and civil war, Syria’s state media reported on Saturday.

State TV said the ministries that were changed are those of oil, finance, social affairs, labour, housing, public works, and agriculture. Key security ministries such as defence and interior remained unchanged.

Saturday’s announcement comes amid major shortages. Power outages are common and Syrians in some areas must stand in hours-long lines for bread and gasoline.

The civil war, which has killed more than 60,000 people, has also heavily damaged infrastructure like oil pipelines, bridges and water and power stations. The airport in Syria’s largest city and commercial hub, Aleppo, is closed due to fighting. The US dollar today exchanges for around 95 Syrian pounds at the black market, about half its value of 47 pounds to the dollar when the crisis began in March 2011.

The presidential decrees issued on Saturday said that what used to be the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has been split into two posts, apparently to give the new Ministry of Social Affairs responsibility for rising numbers of people who have fled from one part of the country to another to escape the fighting.

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