The Islamic State’s oil network revenues from fields in Iraq and Syrian have been cut in half due to ongoing airstrikes.
Over the course of the last two years, approximately 300 airstrikes specifically targeting oil fields, oil reservoirs, and oil convoys have led to a dismantling of ISIL oil revenues. During peak times, US officials estimated ISIL revenues from oil to be around $30-$42 million per month.
That figure appears to be cut in half. The Islamic State group is still earning about $15 million each month by developing oil and gas primarily in eastern Syria and selling it on the black market.
“That’s still a lot of money,” Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Christopher Garver told reporters at the Pentagon. “You can fund a lot of things across the globe. That’s why we continue to strike.”
The ongoing Tidal Wave II operation, led by US coalition forces, struck eight oil and natural gas targets in those countries in recent days. By targeting the Islamic State’s oil infrastructure, the coalition estimates it has reduced production by 30 percent and the group’s oil revenue by 50 percent, since most of what it is selling now is inferior quality
Back in April, a US led coalition also targeted ISIL cash reserves. Intelligence gathering allowed coalition forces to strike warehouses where cash, mostly US dollars, was apparently stored. The US estimated over $500 million was incinerated from the strikes.
The US led coalition has stepped up its campaign over the past year against ISIL oil production.
Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the air war commander based in Qatar, told the New York Times back in May, “We’re hitting them where it hurts a lot more than we were in the past. Every bomb now has a greater impact.”
The United States averaged about 400 strikes a month in Iraq and Syria back in 2014 and 2015, but has increased that number to more than 600 per month over the past year.
You can read the full Stars and Stripes article here.
Top Photo Source: aljazeera.com