Erbil – The US-led coalition says it has destroyed a fleet of 168 ISIS oil tankers near Palmyra on Thursday in the largest air strike of its kind to date.
“The Coalition continues to forcefully prosecute the air war on ISIS revenue capability,” said coalition spokesman Col. John L. JD Dorrian in a statement obtained by ARA News.
When ISIS has access to large sums of money, they use it to conduct violent terror attacks “against anyone who doesn’t share their barbaric ideology,” according to Dorrian.
“The Coalition is systematically targeting ISIS-affiliated oil infrastructure to eliminate millions of dollars in potential revenue. This most recent strike resulted in estimated lost revenue of more than $2 million,” the coalition said.
The coalition added that stopping or severely hampering ISIS cash flow degrades their ability to fund the war effort in Iraq and Syria and terrorist attacks around the world.
The US-led coalition is trying to destroy the ISIS oil resources by targeting oil tanker trucks and petroleum equipment.
Speaking live via video conference from Baghdad on Thursday, Air Force Col. John Dorrian said airstrikes are accelerating in Raqqa on ISIS fighters and resources in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) offensive near Raqqa. “300 such strikes in the past month enabled liberation of more than 270 square miles of territory from ISIS,” he said.
Washington-based Middle East researcher at the Centre for a New American Security, Nicholas Heras, stressed that oil is important for the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate.
“Oil is a crucial source of revenue for ISIS, which funds its ability to make payments to its fighters and to provide social welfare to the tribes it rules over in eastern Syria,” Heras told ARA News.
“Attacking ISIS’ oil revenues weakens its ability to maintain the statelet it is governing, and could lead to increased dissent against its rule that leads to rebellion against it in eastern Syria,” he said. “This would facilitate the Coalition campaign greatly, and could prevent the need to introduce U.S. ground troops in eastern Syria.”