ISIL weakens from its conflict over energy fields

11/11/2014 20:43:00
     ISIL weakens from its conflict over energy fields

Islamic State of Iraq and Levant's hand in controlling energy fields weakens with the continuation of U.S.-led coalition strikes and peshmerga and regime force attacks, experts believe.
Last week ISIL seized two gas fields in the Jahar and Sha'ar districts of Homs, but later in the week the Syrian regime announced that the fields were recaptured. Additionally, the regime announced that U.S.' air strikes ejected  ISIL from the Tanakoil field in Syria's Deir ez Zor region.
" ISIL is bound to try and seizeoil and gas fields because it helps their finances, but it is not the only source of revenue, so they will continue fighting even if they fail," said Marina Ottaway, a Middle East expert at Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank.
"Certainly oil was part of the reason why ISIL already tried to move against Iraqi Kurdistan," Ottaway said, adding ISIL will not be able to succeed with the peshmerga forces on the ground and the U.S. strikes from the air.
Dr. Bilal Wahab of American University in the city of Sulaymaniyah stressed that ISIL is a serious threat to the Akkas gas field near Iraq's Talafar city but so far is not in control of it.
"After their takeover of gas fields in Syria, they may look into Akkas as well. However, gas is not as easy as oil to monetize," Wahab pointed out.                                                                                                                                                                
Regions under ISIL control
ISIL militants have taken control of the Raqqa, Deir ez Zor and al Omar oil fields in the north of Syria since last November. They have continued to seize large amounts of territory in Iraq since June and claim to hold around 17 percent of Iraq's oil resources.
Despite the fact that the group has seized the northern city of Mosul and large areas in the town of Baiji in June, home to the largest oil refinery of Iraq, according to the Iraqi ministry they have been expelled from Baiji on Tuesday. 
 ISIL is rumored to be earning millions of dollars and have created a local market in which they produce between 300-500 barrels of refined petroleum per day.
The U.S.-led coalition continues their airstrikes and has hit a dozen ISIL-controlled oil refineries in remote areas of eastern Syria near Al-Mayadin, Al-Hasakah and Abu Kamal.
In addition, ISIL's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is rumored to be killed in a bomb attack on a convoy of senior militants two days ago in Mosul.



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