President Bashar al-Assad is paying Syrians, via subsidies and higher government salaries, to stay loyal to his government as it clamps down on an eight-month uprising. He may not be able to afford that policy for long.
The U.S. is supporting a leading role for Turkey in organizing international pressure on Syria, as the two allies seek to build a coalition able to back the Syrian opposition movement and help broker an end to the violence.
Syrian soldiers stormed Hama and other flash points of unrest, leaving at least 136 dead, an activist said, as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces sought to reassert control on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, when protests are likely to intensify.
Syria will introduce a managed float of its currency next week, central bank Governor Adib Mayaleh said. The move will allow the pound to devalue after demand for foreign currency drove a surge in black-market rates.
The Arab League gave Syria three days to end bloodshed and allow observers in or face economic sanctions, as the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad escalates with attacks by defectors from his army.
Syria’s army began a withdrawal from the southern city of Daraa, the scene of the most violent crackdown by military forces since anti-regime protests erupted, and stepped up raids in the capital’s suburbs.