AANES issues decision allowing bank licensing in northeast Syria

Kamiran money exchange company in Arza market in Qamishli - August 21, 2022 (Enab Baladi/Majd al-Salem)

Kamiran money exchange company in Arza market in Qamishli - August 21, 2022 (Enab Baladi/Majd al-Salem)


The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) has issued a decision aimed at organizing the licensing of local and foreign banks to operate in its controlled areas in northeastern Syria.

AANES, by virtue of the decision issued today, Thursday, January 25, has banned the use of the words “bank”, “financial institution”, or any synonyms in any language in the facility’s official documents, publications, business titles, names, or commercial advertisements, unless it has obtained a license from AANES’ affiliated Monetary Bureau.

The 40-article decision, each containing several clauses, explained the mechanism for extracting licenses to open banks in AANES-controlled areas, whether local or foreign and the requirements for equipping offices and branches in case of obtaining the necessary license, in addition to the banking activities allowed to be practiced in northeastern Syria.

Regarding the approval of permits, Article “3” of the decision stipulated 11 conditions to apply for a work permit, and Article “4”, which came with six clauses, explained the conditions for obtaining “preliminary” approval, while Article “5” mentioned the conditions for obtaining a permanent approval.

In addition, the decision explained the requirements for the equipping of the main buildings, branches, and offices of banks to be licensed by the Autonomous Administration.

According to the provisions of Article “10” of the decision, banks are allowed to accept deposits of all kinds, whether with interests or without, offer “credit” in all forms, and provide services for transferring money, bonds, and payment instruments.

The same clauses also stated that banks have the right to offer “safekeeping” services (managing valuables, including securities), banking consultancy services, banking insurance, electronic banking, and lending among banks.

Since mid-last year, AANES (the political umbrella for the Syrian Democratic Forces or the SDF) has been trying to regulate its economy through a series of decisions related to its foreign and local currencies.

Among these actions was a law that regulates money transfer operations to and from its areas east of the Euphrates River, either through the four control areas in Syria or across its borders with Iraqi Kurdistan.

At that time, AANES attributed the law to its intention to achieve effective levels to maintain the financial system’s order and the local currency’s monetary stability, by preventing operations of removing, exporting, and importing local and foreign currencies, precious jewelry, and gemstones.

It added that the process also aims to protect the financial system and to prevent violations that affect economic stability.


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