ALEPPO – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has appeared on the currency for the first time as his portrait was printed on a new 2000 pound banknote that went into circulation on Sunday.
Central Bank governor Duraid Durgham said the 2000 pound note was one of the several new notes printed years ago but the decision to put it into circulation was delayed “due to the circumstances of the war and exchange rate fluctuations”.
“Given the worn nature of the bills currently in circulation, the Central Bank saw that it was the appropriate time to release the 2,000 Syrian pound note,” Dergham said, quoted by Syrian state news agency SANA.
To concerns regarding the portrait could spark anger among masses Dergham said: “There is no need to panic over this matter.”
The newly released bill features a portrait of Assad on one side and the inside of Syria’s parliament on the other.
The new note is equal to around $4 at current exchange rates. The currency has plummeted in value since the conflict began in 2011, from 47 pounds to the dollar in 2010 to around 500 pounds to the dollar at present.
The largest bill in circulation had been the 1,000 Syrian pound note, which featured Syria’s former president and Bashar’s late father, Hafez al-Assad.