Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad removed his prime minister of four years, as the country grapples with a stinging economic crisis and renewed protests. He is replaced by Water Resources Minister Hussein Arnous for an interim period.
Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad on Thursday removed Prime Minister Imad Khamis from his post, after a rare outbreak of anti-Assad protests in regime-held areas over weeks of deepening economic hardship.
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.
The country's currency hit a record 3,000 Syrian pounds to the dollar earlier this week in an accelerating free-fall. It traded at 47 pounds at the start of the conflict.
The regime blames 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 regime 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 Assad's government.
Assad has assigned the Water Resources Minister Hussein Arnous as Khamis' successor.
Arnous, 67, was born in Idlib and had served in a long succession of government posts, including the governor of Deir Ezzor province that borders Iraq and Quneitra province in southern Syria.
Shrinking Syrian pound
In the last year alone, the Syrian pound has lost over 80 percent of its value, amid expanded US and European sanctions and a financial crisis in Lebanon that choked an important source of foreign currency.
With growing public anger, hundreds of protesters in the mainly Druze-inhabited city of Sweida in southern Syria took to the streets this week against worsening living conditions.
In rare demonstrations in regime-controlled areas that did not rise against Assad's rule at the outset of Syria's war, protesters called for the his overthrow.
They echoed chants at the start of pro-democracy protests in 2011 that were violently crushed by security forces and sparked the violent nine-year-old conflict.
Turkish Lira becomes de facto currency in northern Syria
Areas of Aleppo and Idlib, under control by Turkish-backed oppositional groups, witnessed large quantities of Turkish Lira circulating in markets after the opposition coalition announced the formal adoption of the Turkish Lira in an effort to stabilise the local economy.
It was declared that denominations of 5, 10, and 20 Turkish Lira would be pumped into various centres in order to maintain the purchasing power of citizens and to facilitate daily transactions.
Among them are towns like Afrin, Azaz, Al Rai, Marea, Jarablus, and Al Bab.