20 Jul 2021
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Saturday 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 estimates suggested the frozen funds were worth between $40 billion and $60 billion.
“Both figures are enough to depress an economy like ours,” he said.
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 in late 2019.
Many Syrian front companies had long circumvented Western sanctions by using Lebanon’s banking system to pay for goods which were then imported into Syria by land.
By Maha El Dahan, Reuters, 17 July 2021
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