Syria is trying to sell gold reserves to raise revenue as Western and Arab sanctions targeting its central bank and oil exports begin to bite, diplomats and traders said.
Western sanctions have halved Syria's foreign exchange  reserves from about $17 billion, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said after a meeting with about 60 nations aimed at coordinating measures against President Bashar Al Assad's government. “Syria is selling its gold at rock bottom prices,” said a Western diplomatic source, declining to say where it was being sold.
A second diplomatic source confirmed the information, adding that Damascus was looking to offload everything it could to raise cash, including currency reserves.
On Feb. 27, the European Union  agreed more sanctions including prohibiting trade in gold and other precious metals with Syrian state institutions, including the central bank. Another trader said deals as of yet had not gone through in Dubai because the Emirati authorities were blocking unauthorised trades and few potential buyers were willing to take the risk of these deals.