Skip to main content

Syria gets new central bank head

The last central bank governor was fired as the Syrian pound remains at historic low points against the US dollar.
This picture taken on June 17, 2020, shows a view of the facade of the central bank of Syria in the capital Damascus' Sabaa Bahrat Square.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad named a new central bank head today amid continued currency depreciation and other economic problems in the war-ravaged country.

Assad named Muhammad Issam Hazima as governor of the central bank of Syria, the state SANA news outlet reported.

Assad fired the previous bank head, Hazem Karfoul, last week. State media did not report a reason at the time. The move came as Syria’s economy continues to reel due to the civil war and US sanctions. The black market exchange value of the Syrian pound fell to a low of 4,600 pounds to the US dollar in March. It recovered to 3,300 pounds to the dollar last week. Before the war, the value was 47 pounds to the dollar.

The pound went up on the black market to 2,990 pounds to the dollar on April 18, which was the highest value since December. The jump followed the government raising the official rate to 2,512 to the dollar from 1,256, which brought the two competing rates closer together. The currency’s plunge has hurt the economy by increasing inflation, making it harder to buy necessities, according to Reuters.

Neighboring Lebanon’s economic collapse and a lack of a rebuild from the war have further hurt the economy, and sanctions on Iran have contributed to Syria’s fuel crisis, according to the private intelligence firm Stratfor.

Hazima is a member of Syria’s securities commission and was educated in France, Reuters reported.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in