Turns out, ordinary ISIL terrorists are getting significantly poorer as a result of pay cuts. Many of them have started to flee the Caliphate despite the risk of getting their heads chopped off if caught by their former comrades-in-arms.
"Hundreds of fighters are running away from ISIL because of low salaries," Kholodnova said, citing those who managed to defect.
A year ago, ISIL's finances were pretty good. Terrorists made millions of dollars from illegal oil trade, taxing folks in conquered territories, selling ancient artefacts, human trafficking, ransoms and funds from their oil-rich Persian Gulf "sponsors," Kholodnova said.
In addition to all of this, with more people fleeing the Caliphate, there are fewer people for ISIL to tax. Those who still live in terrorist-controlled territories are struggling to pay their taxes and financial penalties imposed by ISIL, as the Caliphate can't provide a working economy for people to live, preferring to spend most of its budget on buying weapons.
To revive its economy, ISIL needs take over naval ports in Tartus and Lattakia, the two richest cities on the Mediterranean coast. But now, it's too little too late. The two port-cities have bases where Russian bombers land. It will be simply unimaginable for ISIL to take over these two cities right now, Kholodnova said.
There isn't much that ISIL terrorists can do at this point. ISIL is being squeezed from all sides and quickly running out of money. The terrorists can either flee or surrender to the mercy of victors. The first choice seems better to them, especially after all the trouble and hardship they have brought to Syria and Iraq over the past few years. The time for payback is nearing.