Controlling a territory the size of the U.K., Islamic State has been able to gain control of several oilfields in parts of Syria and Iraq, allowing it to fund and maintain its military operations. As such, taking away its access to oil reserves and the revenues from these assets has become a key strategy for the U.S.-led coalition.
Accompanying the French airstrikes Monday, the U.S. stepped up its attacks on ISIS' industrial base, striking more than 116 fuel trucks used by the group to transport oil — a commodity that earns the group millions of dollars a month.
According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Defense, an ISIS "tactical unit and two fighting positions" in Syria were also destroyed. Other strikes destroyed a storage depot, tactical units and vehicles. Similar strikes were recorded in Iraq where a weapons cache and command center were also destroyed.
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Referring to the airstrikes, an American military spokesman in Baghdad, Colonel Steve Warren, told the Wall Street Journal the purpose of the strike was to "help cripple ISIL's (Islamic State) oil distribution capabilities, which will reduce their ability to fund their military operations."
In total, ISIS controls more than 60 percent of Syria's oil production capacity and less than 10 percent of Iraq's oil production capacity, Reuters estimates. With an overall production capacity of 80,000 to 120,000 barrels per day, this represents a profit of $2 million to $4 million per day (for a barrel discounted price of $25 to $50).