AFP Photo / Ahmad AL-Rubaye
Dozens of vehicles carrying oil leave Syria’s petroleum capital, Raqqa, currently under IS control, every hour, earning the extremist group a million dollars daily, according to an oil refinery employee in the occupied city, who has spoken to RT.
The man, Abu Al-Hakam, would not agree to a video call for fear of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and said he himself was not part of the extremist group.
Part of the Raqqa oil, according to Al-Hakam, stays in the region, which is currently cut off from governmental supplies. Another bigger portion finds its way to the black market.
“It is being pushed through underground pipes towards Turkey and remote areas where no one can see them,” the whistleblower told RT’s Maria Finoshina. “Part of it is distributed by IS through brokers. Most of it is raw, but there’s diesel and benzene as well”.
With an estimated net worth of $2 billion, the Islamic State is believed to be the world’s richest terrorist organization. The bulk of the group’s wealth comes from oilfields in Syria and Iraq that are under IS control.
The US Treasury has said it believes oil sales earned by the Islamic State are “approximately $1 million a day.”
The Islamic State’s oil revenues are huge despite below-the-market prices.
“The Islamic State is using converted water tanks to transport the petrol. They even use fire-trucks,” Al-Hakam said. “They are using normal routes in front everyone because they are not afraid of anything as IS protects the trucks.”
Abu Al-Hakam doesn’t know where the oil goes exactly and whether the Turkish government is involved in the black market deals.
He believes the US-led campaign against IS in Syria could have been more successful if airstrike targets had been different.
“They only targeted a few IS bases, and most of them were empty,” he said. “It’s an embarrassing position for the Americans because it’s well known where the oil refineries are, even a child in Syria knows. I cannot see anything more shameful than that, because Syrian oil is the main source of money and weapons for IS.”
With oil profits currently steadily flowing in, the Islamic State has even announced plans for minting its own currency to challenge the global monetary system.
The extremist group has been busy looking for ways to boost its revenues. It is reportedly offering a Refineries Manager position - salary $225,000 for the person ready to try and increase the group’s oil earnings.