Parts of opposition-held Syria have adopted Turkish Lira as the local currency with the value of the Syrian pound continuing to plummet ahead of new US sanctions on the country.
According to the Daily Sabah, Turkish notes were already in circulation in some parts of northern Syria, such as rebel-held Idlib and areas of Aleppo. However, the formal announcement of using the currency was made in a statement on Tuesday by the “Syrian Provisional Government” (SPG).
“In order to protect citizens’ savings due to the rapid depreciation of the Syrian lira,” explained Abd Al-Rahman Mustafa, the SPG President, “we intensified our negotiations with the relevant Turkish authorities and took the first step in the process of launching small TL banknotes, which are vital in daily life, in the north of Syria.”
Shops in northern parts of Aleppo have started to display prices in Turkish lira rather than the Syrian pound.
Furthermore, the so-called Salvation Government, established by Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) has also started to pay its employees in the Turkish currency. Images have circulated showing large amounts of notes and coins in HTS-held Idlib.
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The Syrian currency hit a record 3,000 pounds to the US dollar earlier this week, causing the price of the average food basket in Syria to rise by 111 per cent. The financial problems in neighbouring Lebanon and the impact of the pending US sanctions and the seizure of business tycoon Rami Makhlouf‘s assets are also said to have contributed to Syria’s worsening economy.