With the collapse of the Syrian Pound having a severe impact on people across the country, citizens of Raqqa are joining the "Our Lira" campaign aimed to boost local economies and offer the needy people a means to access the daily goods they need.
Across Syria, the economic crisis resulting from the recent collapse of the Syrian Pound is having severe impacts. The collapse has caused the prices of everyday goods such as food, water, fuel and baby formula to skyrocket. For many Syrians living under the poverty line, these developments have been nothing short of disastrous, with famine becoming a very real risk. In Raqqa and many other major cities in the country, citizens have responded to the crisis by launching the “Our Lira Is Our Honour” campaign.
Also known as the “One Lira” campaign in some parts of the country, the “Our Lira” campaign aims to support and encourage economic exchanges in the Syrian Pound while also helping destitute Syrians access the goods they need to survive. To this end, traders have agreed to sell their goods in prices as low as SYP1, a quantity that is more symbolic than anything. For the people in Raqqa, the campaign is not just about profits but about the expression of resistance against those who have instituted a blockade against Syria “from all sides”.
The campaign has also been active in the areas under the control of Damascus and was bolstered by the sale of goods in state-approved shops, at significantly lower prices compared to the open markets. It is hoped that these efforts will bolster the Syrian Pound while preventing a worse humanitarian crisis. Similarly, the authorities in charge of north and east Syria have announced a series of measures to support local economies and industries to reduce to cost of imports while supporting local livelihoods.
For the people of Raqqa, who are still trying to recover from the devastation wrought by ISIS, the campaign has been viewed positively. It certainly appears to be allowing Syrians to access the goods they need. However, there are fears that such sales will only be a temporary respite and could make the situation worse as traders sell their goods at low prices but do not have enough cash to purchase more goods. Indeed, supporters of the Syrian Opposition, in particular, noted that the only end to the crisis can come from a comprehensive political solution.