Syria hopes to clinch more financial aid from its allies Russia and Iran soon, but still has enough foreign reserves to pursue its war on rebels trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad, the central bank governor said.
Speaking at the bank's headquarters, hit by a car bomb on April 8, Adeeb Mayaleh said: "We are expecting much more support from friendly countries... Yes, financial support from Iran and Russia and it could also be from other friendly countries.
"Discussions are going on. We are in the process of putting the final touches on the subject of financial aid in a clear way," he told Reuters in an interview, without specifying how much money Iran and Russia would provide.
He said Tehran had already given Syria a $1 billion credit line, more than half of which had been used, and that Russia was now printing Syrian banknotes, formerly supplied by Germany and Austria until the European Union imposed sanctions on Syria.
Syria had reserves of $17 billion when the uprising against Assad began just over two years ago. It now had "much more" left than the "incorrect" $4 billion figure which some bankers have quoted, Mayaleh said. He would not give a specific figure.
"If we compare the prices of commodities in Syria to those in neighboring countries, you find they are cheaper in Syria despite the fact that other countries do not have war being waged on them by countries from around the world," he said.
"This means that reserves are still enough for Syria to stand fast against this conspiracy."
Mayaleh criticized the EU for deciding last week to modify sanctions on Syria to allow oil purchases from rebel forces in control of some eastern oil-producing areas.
"I don't understand how the European Union can give these terrorist armed groups the right to export oil from Syria to Europe," he said. "Under what law?...This is money laundering, this is stolen money and these are stolen goods."
"They (Europeans) are nurturing these militant extremists," he said. "When they finish their role in Syria ... they will go to Europe...The Europeans are trying to bring up a monster who will turn against Europe and its citizens.
"(The opposition) spread rumors that salaries would not be paid for employees and that the state has gone bankrupt," he said. "Two years have passed in this crisis ... and the salaries have always been paid...a month in advance."