Colonel Ahmed Hommich, a member of a UN monitors team, speaks to the media at a hotel in Damascus
Western sanctions on Syria have almost halved its foreign currency reserves and reduced oil production by 30 percent, Reuters has said citing French diplomatic sources.
Officials from almost
sixty countries, including the European Union and the Arab League, will meet in Paris on Tuesday to discuss the efficiency of sanctions imposed on Syria to raise pressure on Assad to comply with a UN-backed peace plan.
\"We haven\'t got a perfect measurement instrument to tell us when the regime will no longer be able to function, but we are seeing an extremely strong decline in foreign reserves. About half,\" one French diplomatic source said.
Foreign reserves were estimated at $17bn before the unrest broke out more than a year ago.
Prior to EU sanctions Damascus sold 90 percent of its oil to Europe and with that market closed Syrian production has now fallen 30 percent. Sources estimate lost revenues at about 400 million euros a month, or a total $2bn since November.
\"With the deteriorating economy there is a hyperinflationary context, sharp collapse of the currency and a fall in revenues. That pressure will eventually be felt,\" said a second source.
Tuesday\'s meeting will be attended by diplomats and finance ministry officials. While not expected to decide on new measures, the 57 countries will outline measures they have taken against Damascus and discuss how to ensure their implementation.