The Syrian government has banned the use of foreign currencyin business transactions in Syria, in efforts to prop up the Syrian pound. Since March 2011, Syria’s currency has dropped from 47 pounds to the U.S. dollar to 200, briefly hitting 300 at its low.

According to Syria’s state news agency, SANA, anyone providing goods and services in exchange for foreign currencies could be fined and imprisoned for up to 10 years. A Damascus banker said the move is “to prevent people from fleeing to the dollar.” Meanwhile, Syrian opposition forces attacked several Alawite villagesSunday in the mountains east of Latakia province,making gains in one of the Assad regime’s strongholds. The Syrian army launched attacks on the remaining opposition controlled areas of Homs, a week after capturing the Khaldiyya district. Also, a Syrian warplanehit the town of Yabroud, near the border with Lebanon, killing at least six people.