Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the the main impediment to investment in the country was money stuck in ailing Lebanese banks. In a speech after being sworn in as president for a fourth term, Assad said that the estimates suggested the frozen funds were worth between $40 billion and $60 billion.
He stated that both figures are enough to depress an economy like theirs. Lebanon is in the throes of a deep economic meltdown that is threatening its stability. Lebanese banks have locked depositors out of their accounts and blocked transfers abroad since the start of the country’s crisis. Many Syrian front companies had long circumvented Western sanctions. And this is by using Lebanon’s banking system to pay for goods which were then imported into Syria by land. Assad also said that Syria would continue working to overcome difficulties caused by the Western sanctions that is imposed over its decade-long war.
Assad said that the sanctions haven’t prevented them from securing their basic needs but they have created some choke points. They will continue to work to overcome them without announcing what methods they used before to do that or what they will use in the future. Syrian authorities blame Western sanctions for widespread hardship, which includes soaring prices and people struggling to afford food and basic supplies. Assad’s biggest challenge, now that he has regained control of around 70% of the country, is an economy in decline.