US Syria

http://tinyurl.com/ph2xx86

On September 28, 2014, Reuters reported that coalition forces carried out air strikes, hitting makeshift oil refineries in Raqqa, Syria.[1] “Islamic State fighters have control over oil produced in eastern Syria and have set up small, makeshift refineries to distil the crude oil into fuel, one of their main sources of income.”[2] ISIL has been reported to use oil, and oil derived products, among other things, in order to finance itself.[3] Striking makeshift oil refineries seems to be part of the coalition’s strategy, as “the US military announced on Wednesday [August 24 2014] that it was bombing small oil refineries in eastern Syria intended to undermine ISIL’s ability to refinance itself through oil sales.”[4] Other strikes have taken place near Deir al-Zor.[5]

Although the strikes may cause damage to ISIL’s economic perspectives, some online sources observe the fact that after the coalition’s first hits “scores of fighters have left al-Qaeda's Nusra Front and other Islamist groups in Syria to join IS since the strikes started. The Nusra Front is coming under increasing pressure from its own members to reconcile with IS to fight what they describe as a crusader campaign against Islam. On Saturday, the group gave its first reaction to the strikes, vowing to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part in the coalition.”[6] This is a sign that even though the strikes are necessary, the coalition forces still need to devise a strategy aimed at counteracting such trends on the ground.

 

[1] “Air strikes hit makeshift refineries in Syria: monitoring group”, Reuters, September 28, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/28/us-mideast-crisis-idUSKCN0HN0GO20140928, consulted on September 28, 2014.

[2] Ibidem.

[3] “ISIS: 5 things to know about the Iraqi jihadist group”, CBC News, June 24, 2014, http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/isis-5-things-to-know-about-the-iraqi-jihadist-group-1.2684540, consulted on September 28, 2014.

[4] “US-led airstrikes hit ISIL bases and oilfields in Syria”, Euronews, September 28, 2014, http://www.euronews.com/2014/09/26/us-led-airstrikes-hit-isil-bases-and-oilfields-in-syria/, consulted on September 28, 2014.

[5] Ibidem.

[6] “Air strikes hit makeshift refineries in Syria: monitoring group”, Reuters, September 28, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/28/us-mideast-crisis-idUSKCN0HN0GO20140928, consulted on September 28, 2014.

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