Assad’s Syria Offers $3,600 Rewards to Capture Foreign Fighters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government is offering rewards of 500,000 Syrian pounds ($3,600), for the capture of “non-Syrian terrorists,” according to state-run television.

The government is also offering rewards of 200,000 Syrian pounds for helping to capture them, al-Ikhbariya TV reported today. Assad has repeatedly accused foreign powers of instigating an uprising against him and financing the opposition.

The reward may tempt some Syrians who are coping with an economy that shrank 28 percent in 2012 and 37 percent at an annualized rate in the first half of 2013, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Syrian pound, which traded at about 47 pounds to the dollar before the war, is now 139 pounds per dollar, according to central bank data.

The Syrian civil war has killed more than 100,000 people since it began in 2011, according to estimates adopted by the United Nations. The war has resulted in losses of almost $50 billion to gross domestic product since 2010, the EIU said in a report this week.

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