UPDATE, APRIL 16:
The Assad regime has devalued the official level of the Syrian pound, two days after the dismissal of the Central Bank governor.
The official level is 2,512:1 v. the US dollar, compared to the level of 1,256:1 set in June 2020.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Bashar al-Assad has removed the Central Bank Governor Hazem Karfoul, who held the post since late 2018.
Syrian State news agency SANA reported the dismissal on Tuesday. No reason or notice of a replacement was given.
The regime is in economic crisis amid the 121-month conflict, with a loss of 75% in GDP; the banking crisis in neighboring Lebanon; failure to fill tenders for imports; the loss of most oil and gas fields to the Kurdish-held northeast; economic and political difficulties for its ally Iran; and US and European Union sanctions.
The Syrian pound, which was 47:1 at the start of the uprising in March 2011, is about 4,000:1. It has sunk beyond 5,000:1 before authorities intervened last month with tightened controls on bank withdrawals and internal transfers and restricted movement of cash.
With widespread shortages and reduced regime subsidies, 12.4 million Syrians — almost 60% of the population — are now “food insecure”, and 1.3 million “severely food insecure”. There are two-mile queues for petrol.
While the Central Bank’s measures checked the collapse of the pound, Karfoul was criticized by the business community, who said the steps were counterproductive and only effective temporarily.