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The Central Bank commission responsible for combating money laundering and terrorism financing said banks and exchange institutions should only offer foreign currency when there is an “economic justification” for the transaction.

It said sales of foreign currency to Syrians travelling abroad should be made one day before departure, with a maximum of two transactions per year. Banks must also get a commitment that any money not used will be changed back within a week.

The Central Bank commission also limited the amount of foreign exchange Syrians could buy. It said banks could only sell Syrian citizens foreign currency equivalent of $1000 per month, with a maximum of three transactions per year without asking for economic reasons.

Syrian officials said the Central Bank reserves stood at around $18 billion before the protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March. But regional bankers say the reserves have been diminishing fast, by around $70-$80 million a week, as the bank has sought to support the Syrian pound exchange rate.

CPI Financial

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