Syria's Assad approves new cabinet
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree on Tuesday approving a new cabinet headed by Hussein Arnous, following a May election that secured Assad's grip on power in the war-torn country.
The new 29-minister government, announced less than two weeks since Assad tasked Arnous with forming it, is little changed from its predecessor.
Those at the head of the key defende, foreign affairs, interior and finance ministries remained unchanged.
But new names were appointed to lead the ministries of information, social affairs and domestic trade and consumer protection.
The reshuffle, weeks after Assad took the oath of office for a fourth seven-year term, is required by the Syrian constitution which stipulates that a cabinet's term ends with that of the president.
On Tuesday, the presidency announced a final list of names on its social media channels.
The new cabinet is the second to be headed by Arnous, who was first appointed by Assad last summer.
It will have to deal with a spiralling economic crisis caused by a decade-long conflict and compounded by a spate of Western sanctions and a financial crunch in neighboring Lebanon.
Spiralling poverty now affects 80 percent of the population, and the Syrian pound has plummeted to unprecedented lows against the dollar on the black market.
Aggravated fuel shortages have extended chronic power cuts to more than twenty hours a day in some areas.
To shore up diminishing reserves, the previous government repeatedly raised prices of basic items such as fuel, bread, rice and sugar.