Local Reports Cite Rise in Demand for Turkish Lira in Idlib, as New US Sanctions Come Into Force

The opposition Smart News agency has reported, along with media activists, a spike in demand among locals in Idlib for Turkish currency as new sanctions under the US’s Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act come into force.

Smart said people stood in long lines on June 16 at Sham Bank in Idlib city to buy Turkish lira.

The Caesar Act, named after the source of a series of photos of detainee abuses in Syria, was signed by President Donald Trump in December. Under it, “the US Congress authorized severe economic sanctions to promote accountability for brutal acts against the Syrian people by the Assad regime and its foreign enablers,” US Department of State said on June 17.

On June 17, the Treasury Department and State Department announced 39 designations, including Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma, in what it said was the “beginning of what will be a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime revenue and support it uses to wage war and commit mass atrocities against the Syrian people.”

This video, by Adnan Imam, a Syrian activist based in Idlib, shows bags of Turkish notes and coins in a bank in Sarmada city, in Idlib province, on June 14. Credit: Adnan Imam via Storyful