Islamic State orders businesses to use its currency

Screen grab of a propaganda video by IS showing its currency Gold Dinar – originally used in the early days of Islam.

Islamic State (IS) ordered shopkeepers and traders to price goods in its currency, the dirham, as of Tuesday and set the value at 1,000 Syrian pounds ($1.80) per dirham, seeking to steer its own monetary policy even as its territorial grip is shaken.

The announcement, circulated in an audio statement on Islamic State-run messaging platforms, said two Syrian banknotes – the 1,000 pound note and 50 pound note – would be banned in the areas it controls as of 25 July.

The militant group has lost swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, and is under siege in its de facto Syrian capital at Raqqa as US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) press an assault to capture the city. It is also on the brink of defeat in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The group is believed to have moved its leadership to the Syrian town of al-Mayadeen, southeast of Raqqa, close to the Iraqi border in Deir al-Zor province.

The IS decree made no mention of a ban on the 500 Syrian pound note. It said exchange rates for the IS currency would be declared on a daily basis. Islamic State declared the launch of its own currency in 2015.