ISIS makes £26 MILLION a month selling oil - including some to the SYRIAN GOVERNMENT
Islamic State militants are making £26 million a month selling oil with large volume going to the Syrian government, it's been claimed.
U.S. officials say the terrorist organisation is engaged in a major oil trade with some finding its way to Turkey.
Senior U.S. Treasury official Adam Szubin today said: "ISIL is selling a great deal of oil to the Assad regime.
"The volumes we are talking about and the amounts of money we are talking about are very sizeable."
Szubin, acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence with the U.S. Treasury, was speaking at Chatham House in London.
He said the "far greater amount" of Islamic State oil ends up under Assad's control while some is consumed internally in Islamic State areas but some ends up in Kurdish regions and Turkey.
"Some is coming across the border into Turkey," he added.
ISIS militants have made more than £330 million ($500 million) from black market oil sales and looted up to £650 million - or the equivalent of $1 billion - from bank vaults in Syria and Iraq, he said in prepared remarks.
"Our sense is that ISIL is taking its profits basically at the wellhead and so while you do have ISIL oil ending up in a variety of different places that's not really the pressure we want when it comes to stemming the flow of funding - it really comes down to taking down their infrastructure," Szubin said.
He added that the U.S. is working closely with the Iraqi government to cut access to dozens of bank branches located in ISIS territory.
The United States has aided troops with air strikes against the terrorists, and Obamais considering sending attack helicopters to aid fighters against the terrorists on the ground.
On Monday, the US-led coalition said it had carried out 20 air strikes in Iraq, six of which targeted ISIS units, weaponry and positions near Ramadi.
Meanwhile Russia has reportedly refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in itsfight against ISIS .
President Vladimir Putin eluded to the stance during an interview yesterday after the country’s Defence Minister confirmed the first ever cruise missiles strikes launched from a submarine in the Caspian Sea had successfully struck targets in Raqqa.
During the encounter broadcast on state television Sergei Shoigu said Calibre missiles were launched from the Rostov-on-Don submarine in the Mediterranean.
Mr Putin then added that the missiles can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads “which, I hope, will never be needed”, he said.
His warning came as Russia stepped up its barrage on Syrian rebels with the submarine strikes and bombing raids in the air.
Mr Shoigu said “300 targets of different kinds” had been hit in the past three days as the assault on the terror cell continued from both the sea and sky.