While the bloody civil war in Syria moves forward, its president Bashar al-Assad juggled his cabinet members appointing new ministers to handle the economy and other sectors that have been ravaged by 24 months of civil war, reported the state media on Saturday.
State television said the president changed the ministries of finance, oil, labor, housing, social affairs, agriculture and public works. Ministries key in the security of the country such as interior and defense remained the same.
The announcement on Saturday came amid massive shortages: power outages have become common and Syrians have had to stand in line for up to hours at a time for gasoline and even bread.
Since the uprising and civil war started over 60,000 people have lost their lives and the infrastructure like bridges, oil pipelines and power and water stations has been damaged or destroyed.
The airport in Aleppo, the country’s largest city and its commercial hub, remains closed because of fighting. Today, the U.S. dollar has an exchange rate of 95 Syrian pounds on the black market, which is about half of what its value was prior to the uprising in March of 2011.
Saturday’s presidential decrees said that the former Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor was split into two ministries to give responsibility to the Social Affairs minister the rising amount of people fleeing from one part of Syria to another to escape the expanding fighting.
The government has offered dialogue on ending the fighting, but insists on the rebels laying down their arms before doing so. However, the rebels are very fractioned and distrust the regime so much, that they would most likely not stop fighting until they have won or the regime takes back the entire country.