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QAMISHLI – The radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) ــwhich is in control of large territories across Syria and Iraqــ is considered one of the best-funded militant groups in the world. However, its power may decline if it stopped expanding on the ground.
The terror group gains more and more money from extortion and pillaging from residents in the areas under its control.
To gain more cash every time, the extremist group moves into new cities and towns to impose taxes and ransoms on civilians in order to fund its operations, according to Syrian and Iraqi activists.
“Ransoms and confiscation of private property constitute a main resource for the terror group,” an activist in Deir ez-Zor told ARA News on the condition of anonymity.
In May, ISIS seized the historical city of Palmyra in Syria, and reportedly sold monuments and sculptures on the black market.
Besides, the group has been selling oil in the black market for more than two years, especially after taking over major oil fields in the region. However, recent reports indicated the decline of ISIS ability to export oil to outside Syria and Iraq amid increasing military operations by the U.S.-led coalition and Russia against the extremist group.
“Pillage is a main way for ISIS to increase its wealth. However, relying on property confiscation, pillage and ransoms could be seen as a structural weakness for ISIS. If the group stooped its advancement on ground, it will collapse outright,” a monitoring group told ARA News.
ISIS is struggling to continue making significant gains as it fights government forces and rebel groups in Iraq and Syria.
The Iraqi government has reportedly stopped paying the salaries of its employees in the ISIS-held areas, “in a bid to prevent ISIS from taking their money”, an Iraqi official told reports in Baghdad.
The radical group has reportedly raised the prices of gas, water and electricity to push people to join the ranks of its military forces, whose salaries are understood to be high, with an average of $800 per month.
Since such a tactic has so far enabled ISIS enjoy more power, the group is easily luring desperate people to fight alongside its militants.
Reporting by: Egid Ibrahim
Source: ARA News