Idlib residents resort to digital cash to make ends meet

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Collecting digital cash in northern Syria has turn into a technique to earn cash on-line by a number of purposes, with month-to-month income reaching as much as $200. 

All that’s wanted is a cellphone with entry to the web. In order to acquire cash an software ought to be put in and an account created. Subsequently, the consumer joins voice chat rooms and collects items despatched by the directors, converts them into cash and resells them to particular telecommunication retailers.

A single consumer can create as much as 50 accounts utilizing the identical cellphone to extend income, thus incomes as much as $200 monthly. Every 1,000 cash are bought for $4. In the northwestern province of Idlib, folks of all ages, women and men, are concerned on this enterprise that helps them earn a month-to-month earnings.

Mustafa Hamidi, a sociologist and freelance researcher primarily based in Turkey, instructed Al-Monitor, “In all societies grappling with poverty and helplessness, people look for new ways to earn money in order to make ends meet and ward off poverty. I believe that the Syrian population has reached extreme poverty, as more than 80% of Syrians live below the poverty line. Hence the need for such options.”

He stated, “Collecting coins as an easy way to earn money follows the principle whereby the end justifies the means. It is a business that young people are interested in amid a lack of job opportunities, financial resources and any prospects. However, I do not think that this will solve all the problems the youth are facing, nor will it serve as a livelihood solution for Syrian society in the north. It is more of a bubble that will burst as soon as other opportunities emerge and will not leave major societal effects on Syrian society.”

Hussein al-Sayed, a coin dealer in Idlib, told Al-Monitor, “I was displaced from the northern countryside of Homs, and I live with my family of six in Idlib. I have been collecting coins for nearly a year now. I worked in the field of dressmaking, but the lack of job opportunities made us resort to these applications. The economic living conditions are bad, and we have to make ends meet.”

He added, “I know a lot of people who resorted to these applications in the countryside of Homs before we were displaced to Idlib. The applications have been widely used recently in the north of Syria due to the bad economic conditions and winter months that forced people to spend long hours in their homes. Thanks to these applications, the displaced no longer rely on the monthly food baskets provided by humanitarian organizations as they can provide for themselves and cover the needs of their families.”

The Supreme Council for Fatwa, affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which controls Idlib province, issued a statement April 7 prohibiting money being earned from the sale of coins through the apps that have widely spread among the displaced in Idlib and northern Syria.

A Sharia judge in the Supreme Council for Fatwa, who preferred anonymity, told Al-Monitor the reason behind the decision is that “some administrators from the Gulf and Europe usually distribute coins to members of voice chat rooms containing women so that they get to know these women. So most accounts opened with a female name actually belong to men who want to benefit from the Gulf or European administrators sending coins. In other words, such chat rooms encourage a number of immoral prohibitions such as gambling, fraud and trickery. These apps are a fertile environment for sedition, exploitation of women and immoral behavior. They also unavoidably expose users to evils.”

Ahmad Mazhar Sado, a journalist and freelance author residing in Turkey, instructed Al-Monitor, “This phenomenon has been noticed amongst residents of northwestern Syria for greater than a yr now, nevertheless it has unfold more and more amongst younger folks struggling to seek out job alternatives amid poor financial situations. This is why Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is forbidding using the cash earned from such cash, in what has been deemed as a choice specializing in much less severe issues amid the buildup of main issues and the continued oppression, which Syrians reject. Instead of looking for various job alternatives for such purposes, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham appears to be settling for the issuance of choices.”