Syria’s Assad dismisses prime minister as economic hardship grows

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Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Thursday dismissed prime minister Imad Khamis, after weeks of deepening economic hardship and a rare outbreak of anti-Assad protests in government-held areas.

State media, which reported the news, did not give a reason for the sudden decision, announced in a presidential decree that designated water resources minister Hussein Arnous as Khamis’ successor.

The government has criticised a wave of new, tighter U.S. 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.

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