Syria economic meltdown presents new challenge for Assad

BEIRUT (AP) — The toughest U.S. sanctions yet on Syria start to come into effect next week, and they are likely to hit hard on a country whose economy is already melting down. In past weeks, prices have jumped and the currency has crumbled. Protests against the government of President Bashar Assad erupted in one city — a scene not witnessed there for years. While Assad may have won the military war against his opponents with the help of allies Russia and Iran, he now faces an even bigger challenge of governing while more than 80% of his people live in poverty.