Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) so-called Salvation Government in Greater Idlib has abandoned Syrian Pound in favor of Turkish Lira.
In the last few days, the self-proclaimed government brought large quantities of Turkish bills and coins. The plan is to slowly replace the Syrian pound with Turkish Lira in day-to-day trade in Greater Idlib.
After the approval of the “Salvation Gov”, large quantities of Turkish lira bills and coins reached Idlib’s central bank, as the unstable Syrian lira will gradually become replaced by the Turkish lira. The Syrian lira will soon lose almost 5 million users (Idlib & Aleppo) pic.twitter.com/HDTa8GyPzR
— Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) June 11, 2020
The Salvation Government was formed by HTS in 2017. Back then, the U.S. warned from dealing with the al-Qaeda-affiliated government. However, Turkey is apparently ignoring this warning.
In the last few months, the Syrian pound lost most of value, falling to over 2,000 for U.S. Dollar. Crippling sanctions imposed by the West, a devastating economic crisis in neighboring Lebanon and a long COVID-19 lockdown were blamed for the collapse.
On June 11, Ibrahim al-Ibrahim, General Finance Director in HTS’ government, told the al-Sham News Network that public sector employees in Greater Idlib will from now on get paid in Turkish Lira. Last May, the government converted the value of the salaries to U.S. Dollar.
“Due to the continues collapse of the Syrian Pound, and in order to achieve the desire of the employees, who don’t want to get paid in Syrian Pound, the government has started to pay salaries in Turkish Lira, which was widely welcomed by the employees,” al-Ibrahim said.
Some opposition activists hope that switching to Turkish Lira in Greater Idlib will further damage the Syrian pound, thus weaken the financial capabilities of Damascus. While this is very possible, the newly-injected Turkish currency could easily reach government-held areas.
Despite the ongoing conflict, opposition areas trade with government-held areas on a daily basis through smuggling. This means that the Syrian Pound will remain desirable as “hot cash” in Greater Idlib as well as in Turkish-occupied areas in the north and northeast.