Europe

Syria's PM says Damascus subjected to economic war

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2015, file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad gives an interview with the BBC in Damascus, Syria. On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Assad said in an interview with Sputnik, a Russian state news agency, that Syria needs a national unity government that would secure the transition to a new constitution, rejecting the "transitional body" demanded by the opposition, which wants him to step down. Assad said Syrian refugees will begin returning home when they see hope for improvement, adding that one of the main causes of migration is Western sanctions against Syria. (SANA via AP, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2015, file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad gives an interview with the BBC in Damascus, Syria. On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Assad said in an interview with Sputnik, a Russian state news agency, that Syria needs a national unity government that would secure the transition to a new constitution, rejecting the "transitional body" demanded by the opposition, which wants him to step down. Assad said Syrian refugees will begin returning home when they see hope for improvement, adding that one of the main causes of migration is Western sanctions against Syria. (SANA via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

Syria's prime minister says the country's economy is being subjected to a "fierce war," adding that his government is working to stop the fall of local currency.

Wael al-Halqi's comments on Thursday came as the Syrian pound crashed against foreign currencies, recently reaching its lowest level in five years at 530 pounds to the U.S. dollar.

Al-Halqi, who spoke during a parliamentary session, did now say what the government will do.

When Syria's conflict began in March 2011, the exchange rate was 47 pounds to the dollar.

On Tuesday, state media reported that several people were detained with large amounts of cash while dealing in the black market.

The Syrian pound's latest crash began when Russia announced the withdrawal of the bulk of its forces from Syria.