Syria’s Idlib suffers from Turkish lira circulation

IDLIB, Syria (North Press) – Residents of Idlib and its countryside, in northwest Syria, say that problems stemming from the circulation of the Turkish lira in the Syrian opposition-held areas are increasing day after day due to the deterioration of the value of the Turkish lira and its instability.

Idlib journalist Shahoud Jadoua’ said that despite the collapse of the Syrian pound’s value, it is more stable than the Turkish lira.

There is also no fixed exchange market for the Turkish lira, which means each seller deals at his own exchange rate.

Mamoun al-Masri, a displaced person in Idlib, told North Press that the decision to exchange the Syrian currency for the Turkish lira did not solve the problem of fluctuation in the exchange rate of the Syrian pound against the dollar.

“The main measure of commercial transactions is the exchange rate of the dollar, and there has been no stability in market prices since the start of trading in the Turkish lira months ago,” he added.

The decision of the opposition’s Syrian Interim Government and the Syrian Salvation Government of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to use the Turkish currency instead of the Syrian one was issued in June, amid a decline in the value of the Syrian pound.

However, after nearly six months of dealing in the Turkish lira in northwestern Syria, many negative consequences emerged, especially for workers and people with limited income.

Idlib resident Ali al-Sheikh said that the first problem is linking the economy of the opposition areas with the Turkish economy, which is subject to economic shocks every period.

He added that the second problem is that all shop owners now act as money changers and sellers, which has negatively affected the population amid the absence of supervision.

Khalid Husseino, a displaced person in Idlib, said that “we still have a problem because the Turkish currency almost collapsed, and prices rose, in addition to a large discrepancy from one shop to another.”

“Shop owners sell at the exchange rate that they want, and the Turkish economy is still in a continuous collapse,” he added.

The lack of money-exchange shops that are committed to accurate prices has other effects on the living conditions of the residents of these areas.

Some business owners refuse to pay their workers’ wages in Turkish lira.

Laborer Naji al-Mahmoud said that he received 3,000 Syrian pounds (SYP) for five hours a day, and that this amount was sufficient for his day’s needs before the decision to exchange the Syrian pound with the Turkish lira.

“The wage of the worker who receives it in Syrian pounds is not sufficient now even for the price of the bread he buys in Turkish currency,” he added.

Reporting by Bara’a al-Shami