Syrian civil servants get raise as currency loses value

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Syrian president has issued a decree giving a monthly raise to all civilian and military state employees.

The decree gives 20,000 pounds, which is about $27, more a month to state employees. This comes at a time when the local currency has been losing some of its value in recent months.

The decree, issued on Thursday, also gives a raise of 16,000 pounds, or $23, to retired state employees. The U.S. dollar is currently worth over 700 pounds.

The collapse of the Syrian pound is blamed on tough Western sanctions against President Bashar Assad’ government, as well as on decline in remittances from Syrians living abroad. Many Syrians are buying dollars to preserve their savings.

When Syria’s crisis began in March 2011, a dollar was valued at 47 pounds.

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