Syria’s Assad fires Prime Minister, replaces with Water Resources Minister

by Maruf Adedeji

Syrian President Bashar al Assad has fired the prime minister Imad Khamis and replaced him with water resources minister Hussein Arnous.

This was disclosed on Thursday June 11, 2020, in a presidential decree through the state media.

“President Assad has issued decree number 143 for the year 2020 which relieves the prime minister Imad Muhammad Dib Khamis of his position,” an official statement from the president reads.

The state media, however, did not give a reason for the sudden decision to designate the successor Hussein Arnous after removing Imad Khamis from the post he has occupied since 2016.

The move followed weeks of worsening economic hardship, with the currency plunging into low values while food prices skyrocketing, thus making life economically hard for ordinary war-battered Syrians.

The 67-year-old Arnous who is the minister of water resources was born in Idlib and has a long history of serving in different official capacities including being a former governor of Dier Sir province bordering Iraq and Quneitra province in southern Syria.

The current exchange rate has gone up to 3,000 Syrian pounds for a U.S. dollar earlier this week in a hard-hit economic downturn. Pounds once recorded 47 pounds to the dollar at the start of the crisis.

Syrian government blames the Western sanctions for the aggravated hardships spreading among ordinary Syrian residents.

Economists and politicians said the proposed “Ceasar Act” sanctions from the U.S. to be used against Syria later this month will further tighten the noose around Assad’s government.

The looming US sanctions also frown upon any entity or country that does business with the Syrian government.

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