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Russia'a airstrikes cause twofold decline in IS oil production in Syria — general

December 02, 2015, 15:25 UTC+3
Russian aircraft have destroyed 32 oil refining complexes of terrorists, 11 oil refineries, 23 oil pumping stations and more than 1,000 oil tank trucks
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© Russian Defense Ministry's Press and Information Department/TASS

MOSCOW, December 2. /TASS/. The Russian aviation airstrikes in Syria have caused a twofold decline in Islamic State’s revenue from illegal oil trade, from $3 million to $1.5 million a day, chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian General Staff Sergey Rudskoi said on Wednesday.

"The revenue of this terrorist organisation reached $3 million a day. After two months of airstrikes delivered by the Russian aircraft on the terrorists, their oil revenue declined to $1.5 million a day," the official said.

According to the official, over the two months of Russia’s operation in Syria, Russian aircraft have destroyed 32 oil refining complexes of terrorists, 11 oil refineries, 23 oil pumping stations and more than 1,000 oil tank trucks.

"Over the two past months, the Russian air strikes have destroyed 32 oil refining complexes, 11 oil refineries, 23 oil pumping stations and 1,080 vehicles carrying petroleum products," he said.

At the same time, he added, the gangs "continue to receive considerable funds, as well as weapons, ammunition and other assets for their activity."

The Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) currently earns about $2 bln a year from illegal oil trade. Islamic State terrorists currently have no less than 8,500 fuel vehicles, which transport up to 200,000 barrels of oil daily.

"As a result, the terrorists’ criminal business linked with oil product trade today involves no less than 8,500 fuel trucks, which daily transport up to 200,000 barrels of oil," he said.

"The profits from selling oil are one of the most important sources of the terrorists’ activity in Syria. They earn around $2 billion every year, spending these funds on recruiting gunmen around the world and providing them with weapons, equipment and armament," Antonov said.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces have been carrying out airstrikes against the facilities of gunmen in Syria since September 30 at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Over the past two months, the airstrikes have destroyed more than 1,000 tankers of crude oil and dozens of oil refining facilities belonging to terrorists.

The Russian Defense Ministry has identified three main routes for transporting oil from Syria and Iraq to Turkey

"We have identified three major routes for transporting oil to Turkey’s territory from the areas in Syria and Iraq controlled by the armed gangs of ISIL," he said.

Rudskoi also noted that the Turkish president and his family are involved in illegal oil trade with the Islamic State.

The officer stressed that the international coalition led by  the United States does not deliver air strikes at gasoline tankers and illegal oil production and trade infrastructure facilities in Syria.

"No destruction of gasoline tankers on the part of coalition has been registered. What we see yet is that the number of strategic drones has tripled," Rudskoi said.

Complete information on illegal oil production and trade infrastructure facilities in Syria will be posted on the website of Russia’s Defense Ministry after the briefing.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were redeployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.

On October 7, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.

In mid-November, Russia increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria to 69 and involved strategic bombers in strikes at militants. As the Russian Defense Ministry reported, Russia’s air grouping has focused on destroying terrorist-controlled oil extraction, storage, transportation and refining facilities.

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