BEIRUT, May 28 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has opened two lines of credit totaling $4 billion to help Syria counter the economic impact of a civil war and international sanctions, Syria's government daily Tishreen reported, citing the country’s Central Bank.
Iran’s support is one of the key elements safeguarding the survival of Syria’s embattled regime of President Bashar Assad.
“Iran continues to support Syria, by opening one line of credit worth $1 billion to finance the import of consumer goods and another line of credit worth $3 billion to finance the purchase of oil and oil products,” Tishreen quoted Syria’s Central Bank Governor Adib Mayale as saying.
Mayale said Syria’s economic losses since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 were estimated at 25 million euros ($32.2 bln).
The Syrian banking chief said the Syrian pound fell from 50 pounds to the dollar to 150 pounds to the dollar in the past two years, threatening to leave the country without sufficient reserves to satisfy the needs of the struggling economy.
Meanwhile, the European Union decided on Monday to extend economic and financial sanctions against Assad’s regime until at least August, while lifting an arms embargo on Syrian opposition in a breach of previous commitments not to supply weapons to either side of the bloody conflict that killed by UN estimates 80,000 people so far.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said after a day-long meeting of 27 EU foreign ministers in Brussels that from now on every EU member country has the right to make its own decision on arms exports to Syria.