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The oil infrastructure of ISIS, on which the terrorist group depends for its survival, took another blow yesterday, this time from the U.S.-led coalition forces, which struck a convoy of ISIS tankers in the Iraqi province of Nineveh.
According to the head of the Nineveh media center, all the tankers – 25, according to reports – were destroyed and 12 militants died in the course of the strike.
Oil fields and transport infrastructure are a top priority for all armed forces fighting against ISIS in Syria and Iraq as the organization gets most of its revenues from oil.
The coalition forces alone have carried out 303 air strikes against ISIS oil targets since 2014, which has affected monthly revenues significantly, according to the spokesman for Operation Tidal Wave Christopher Garver.
Garver said that ISIS used to earn some $30 million monthly from its oil “business”. Now, these revenues are believed to be down to $15 million a month. In early August, Iraqi sources reported that ISIS oil revenues in Iraq had been cut by as much as 90 percent thanks to successful attacks of oil targets by the local armed forces.
Last week, media reported another successful strike against an ISIS oil convoy, this time by the Syrian army, which destroyed four oil tankers in southern Syria. In July, the Syrian forces retook control over a major crude oil pipeline in the country, cutting the access of militants to it.
Because of this focus on its oil infrastructure, ISIS has turned to blowing up wells in a bid to stop the advance of the armies. In July, they blew up five wells near Mosul, one of their strongholds. Earlier, it was reported that the militants are building makeshift refineries and storage pits in the oilfields around Mosul because of the persistent attacks against their main source of income.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.