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Assad makes minor government changes - state media

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Sat, 9 Feb 2013 15:12 GMT
Author: Reuters
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BEIRUT, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad appointed new oil and finance ministers on Saturday, state media said, announcing a limited reshuffle during a deep economic crisis.

Syria's near two-year revolt against Assad, which has turned into a civil war, has ravaged infrastructure and halved the output of staple crops. It is also putting pressure on the Syrian pound.

State news agency SANA said Assad replaced five more ministers including those for agriculture and housing. Security posts such as the defence and interior ministers remained unchanged.

It said Assad appointed Suleiman Abbas, a former deputy oil minister, as the new oil minister and Ismail Ismail, a former head of the state owned grain company, as the new finance minister.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a violence monitoring group, said clashes between rebels and government forces continued in several provinces including Aleppo, Idlib and Homs and Damascus.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Editing by Alison Williams)

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