IS Revenues Dipping

IS Revenues DippingIS Revenues Dipping

US-led airstrikes and falling oil prices have cut Islamic State’s revenues from oil fields, and the militant group’s financial resources will further decline if it can’t capture new territory, according to a study by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

IS capacity to extract oil, refine it and sell the products has “significantly diminished,” according to the report. “This is due to coalition airstrikes, IS need for refined crude and declining oil prices,” Bloomberg reported.

IS has funded itself from “illicit proceeds from its occupation of territory” including bank looting, extortion and robbery, FATF said Friday. Other sources are donations, kidnapping and cash smuggling. The report didn’t put a figure on the group’s revenues.

The group has recently withdrawn from areas around Aleppo, Syria, and has been pushed back in some places by Kurdish fighters.

“In order to maintain its financial management and expenditures in areas where it operates, IS must be able to seize additional territory in order to exploit resources,” the report said.

The FATF was founded in 1989 to track money laundering and its 36 members included the world’s largest economies.

  262 Hostages and Counting

IS has seized more Assyrian Christian hostages after taking over nearly a dozen Assyrian villages in northeastern Syria in the past few days, an activist said Thursday.

The militant group now holds 262 Assyrians captive, said Osama Edward, founder of the Assyrian Human Rights Network. “IS is taking over more and more Assyrian towns,” he said.

The number has climbed steadily, from an initial estimate of between 70 and 100 people seized on Monday to 150 as of Wednesday, with women, children and the elderly among them.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number of Assyrian hostages seized over three days at 220, in a statement released Thursday.

They were taken from 11 villages in the Tal Tamer area in al-Hasakah Province, the monitoring group said. Its information indicates that IS has taken them to the Mount Abdelaziz area, southwest of Tal Tamer.

Edward, who is based in Sweden but has family in the area attacked by the terror group, said Wednesday his information was coming from the Assyrian Human Rights Network’s team on the ground.

He said he fears the hostages may face the same fate as Assyrians targeted in Iraq and the more than 20 members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority slaughtered by IS in Libya last month.