A U.S. led coalition on a mission to destroy ISIS’ blackmarket oil smuggling activities carried out one of the the largest airstrikes against ISIS’ oil operations in Syria this weekend. Waves of airstrikes destroyed 83 oil trucks owned by the terrorist organization. The damage dealt by wave after wave of bombing raids is reported to have cost ISIS up to $11 million in losses. The latest bombing is part of an operation called called Tidal Wave II that focuses on preventing ISIS from generating revenue from black market oil sales.
The terrorist group normally hides large amounts of oil or breaks them down into smaller convoys to avoid being detected. However, the group carelessly left a large cache of oil truck sand tankers in the open, signaling to military officials that ISIS is losing control over their oil-based operations.
Tidal Wave II has led to the destruction of 600 oil tanker trucks and other oil-related infrastructure since its inception. At its peak the terrorist organization could generate up to $1 million dollars a day. The operation has been able to successfully cripple this arm of ISIS’ fundraising branch. Each truck once brought in $6,000 per delivery, that number has been dropped to only $2,000 per truck while the coalition has also limited the number of sales to only five trucks per day.
The airstrike took place in the in Deir ez-Zor province of Syria. After the stockpile was spotted by a scout plane the coalition launched several A-10 attack planes, F-16s and two unidentified coalition aircraft. The aircraft launched more than 80 weapons at the targets. The attack was massive but only registered as the third largest attack on ISIS oil trucks in operation history.
The coalition refrained from dropping leaflets to warn civilians of the impending bombing but was able to limit the number of civilian casualties by firing several warning shots at the trucks before engaging the targets. Military officials went on to state that the trucks were immobile for several hours prior to the bombing, leading them to believe no drivers were present or injured.