With Syria’s economy on the verge of collapse, the country’s currency is plunging to record lows. Although Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has thus far survived the decade-long civil war, his hold on the country now seems more tenuous than ever.

Assad, on Thursday, fired prime minister Imad Khamis, state media reported.

They did not give a reason for the sudden decision to fire Khamis, nonetheless, it is apparent that he was made the scapegoat for the economic crisis. Khamis’s successor as prime minister will be Hussein Arnous, the current water resources minister. Arnous was born in Idlib and has served in a variety of government posts, including as the governor of Deir Zor province that borders Iraq and Quneitra province in southern Syria.

The move to fire Khamis follows weeks of worsening economic conditions and an outbreak of anti-Assad protests in government-held areas.

In Syria’s southern Suwayda province, the Druze community sent a blunt but pointed message to Assad, after three days of protests.

“We promised to keep things peaceful … but if you want bullets, you shall have them.”

The Druze protest was followed by a phony pro-Assad counter-demonstration where government officials were warned by Assad’s secret police what would happen to them if they chose not to be involved. 

These events were significant because the Druze — a minority sect — had largely stayed out of the political maelstrom that has been engulfing the country. But their economic plight has made them a very vocal anti-Assad voice, something which they didn’t attempt to hide.