10 Feb 2013

Cabinet reshuffle in Syria

7:55 am on 10 February 2013

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has reshuffled his cabinet amid an economic recession due to nearly two years of civil war.

AAP reports the reshuffle on Saturday focused on finance and social affairs portfolios.

The World Bank says Syria's gross domestic product has shrunk by 20%. The UN Economic Social Commission for Western Asia currently puts unemployment at 37% and possibly 50% by the end of 2013.

SANA news agency reported Mr Assad changed seven ministers, saying he split the ministry of labour and social affairs into two and brought in a woman, Kinda Shmat, to head the latter. Hassan Hijazi becomes labour minister.

Mr Assad has announced several reshuffles since the uprising against his rule began, the most recent in August 2012.

The Syrian National Coalition said on 1 February that any talks on the country's political future must be about the departure of the Assad regime.