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Syria forms new government to boost economy

4 July 2016 15:20



Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree to reshuffle certain cabinet posts amid efforts made to improve the economy of the war-torn Arab country.

The new cabinet, which was announced on Sunday, included key figures from previous cabinets such as Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and Interior Minister Ibrahim al-Shaar.

Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij retained his post while Adib Mayalleh, a former central bank governor, was named minister of economy and foreign trade.

Mayalleh is known in Syria for his efforts in defending the local currency after its sharp decline against the US dollar in recent years.

The reshuffle comes more than two months after Syrians voted in parliamentary elections. Assad appointed Electricity Minister Imad Khamis on June 22 as prime minister, tasking him with forming a new government.

The changes in government come as Syria still grapples with a devastating war with militants, especially in its eastern and northeastern areas. The militancy, which Syria blames on foreign states, has cost the country more than USD 200 billion in losses. Assad and other officials have touted the reshuffle as a major move to improve the economy.

The government in Damascus still controls much of the Syrian territory while the military, backed by allies, has managed to repel terror groups from key population centers in the north and east.

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