Although the Syrian civil war are has partitioned Syria into several autonomous regions, trade has continued to flow across front lines, largely aided by truck drivers. These truck drivers are responsible for crossing battlefields and checkpoints to deliver consumer goods, such as food, cars, and oil.
The new customs and taxes in each of Syria’s regions controlled by different regimes have caused the prices of several products to rise dramatically for consumers across the country. The Islamic State plays a large role in Syria’s internal trade due to the substantial territory under its control, which has allowed the group the exploit the trade, demonstrated by the fact that half of their revenue comes from taxation and confiscation.
Due to the civil war, Syria has seen its economic shrink and has experienced constant turmoil in the currency markets. A UN report has estimated that Syria’s GDP has shrunk by 55 percent and $259.6 billion has been lost since the beginning of the war. The report also stated that Syria’s gross domestic product has decreased from $60 billion in in 2010 to $23 billion. In early May, Syria’s central bank raised the its official exchange rate to 620 Syrian pounds per American dollar, close to exchange rate on the black market. It has been speculated that some of the deterioration of the currency is linked to the conversion of the Syrian pound to American dollars and the subsequent flight of the money moving abroad. In addition, it is suspected that there are people who are profiting from the different currency rates across Syria, along with the lower exchange rates that are offered to importers from the government.