Assad Blames Syria's Current Economic Woes on Lebanese Banks


Syrian President Bashar Assad has said much of his country's current economic distress is a direct result of the banking crisis in neighboring Lebanon, where many Syrian businessmen have traditionally kept their money.

Assad said that between $20 billion and $42 billion held by Syrians are estimated to be tied up in Lebanese banks. He spoke during a tour of a trade fair in Damascus with his wife.

"This number for an economy like Syria is a scary number," Assad said, according to a recording published by SANA, the Syrian state news agency.

Lebanon is experiencing a serious banking crisis, which has led to the introduction of informal capital controls to combat capital flight and prop a flailing local currency. Depositors are unable to make foreign transfers and there is a limit on how much they can withdraw.

Lebanese banks had offered a lifeline to the Syrian economy, which under the Assad family rule faced decades of Western sanctions that often targeted individual businessmen and cut off Syrian banks.

However, Assad did not blame the sanctions for the ongoing crisis as most government officials do. "When the banks in Lebanon closed, we paid the price. This is the essence of the problem," he said.

Low oil prices and poor access to the Kurdish-held northeast of Syria, where much of the country's wheat is grown, also played a part, he said.

Syria's economy is in shambles and the nine-year civil war has killed more than 400,000 and displaced half the country's population. The local Syrian currency crashed in recent months making it more difficult for many Syrians to buy food. More than 80% of the Syrian population live in poverty, according to U.N.

The spread of coronavirus in the war-torn country has further restricted economic activities and increased unemployment.

Comments 6
Thumb ansarullah 3 months

God bless Shia backed and inspired Syrian President Bashar Assad for identifying Syria's economic woes and blaming Lebanese banks for the same.

Shia Shia Shia !!!

Thumb tric.bortugal 3 months

Crestins Crestins Crestins !!!

Missing singldad 3 months

the hell with your hizballah and the Syrian dictator. Tfeh...

Default-user-icon Sam (Guest) 3 months

He is right, many Syrians were affected thus the economy. The people pay the price, Lebanese or Syrian.

Missing opinion101 3 months

Blame everyone but himself. 11 out of 10 for dictatorship. Meanwhile in Lebanon we seem to have wannabe dictators of our own.

Missing cedars 3 months

If that's true and not the other way around that every Syrian send their money home then why we are flagging daily boats and trucks destined to Syria via Lebanon. Assad is upset because the army has begun stopping the smugglers.