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    Oil well pumps are seen in the Rmeilane oil field in Syria's northerneastern Hasakeh province on July 15, 2015

    Russia's Airstrikes on Illegal Oil Infrastructure Undermine ISIL Livelihood

    © AFP 2017/ YOUSSEF KARWASHAN
    Middle East
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    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)
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    Having dealt a heavy blow to ISIL's military capabilities, Russian forces can now focus on destroying the group's economic potential by hitting where it hurts the most – the illegal oil business, political scientist Nikita Smagin told Radio Sputnik.

    Massive airstrikes, according to the analyst, could seriously limit ISIL's ability to deliver stolen oil to the black market. Selling oil stolen from oilfields in Iraq and Syria has been a major source of income for the terrorism group. Militants are making as much as $2 million daily, according to different estimates

    Prior to airstrike campaigns, the key approach to dealing with ISIL's illegal business activities involved exerting political pressure on the buyers.

    "This method does not seem to be working. There are still those, mainly in Turkey, who purchase oil and petroleum products from ISIL," the analyst explained.

    Recent terrorist acts in France, Turkey and elsewhere, carried out by the radical group, could be the proverbial final straw. Ankara, in Smagin's opinion, could now join those who try to influence buyers of ISIL oil.

    "Turkey could have realized the danger ISIL presents," he assumed, adding that Russian airstrikes are taking care of the rest.

    On Friday, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that the Russian aerial campaign undermined ISIL infrastructure preventing the terrorist group from smuggling oil. Unable to deliver 60,000 tons of oil daily, ISIL is losing some $1.5 million per day, according to his estimates.
    Russian forces recently destroyed 15 oil storage and refining facilities, as well as 525 tankers.

    Smagin believes that Russia's campaign, launched in late September following a formal request from Damascus, is gradually reaching its intended goals.

    "ISIL is getting weaker. They are not making any military progress. On the contrary, they are suffering defeat after defeat. Recruiting new fighters has also become complicated," he stated.

    Russian air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria
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    Russian air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria
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    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

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    Tags:
    Oil, Daesh, Russian aerial campaign, airstrike, oil facilities, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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