ISIS shipped oil from Syria's Jabisah field to Turkey via Raqqa, locals tell RT
Jabisah oil field and facility near the town of Shaddadi in northern Syria were under Islamic State (IS, Daesh, formerly ISIS/ISIL) control for two years, with the illegal oil trade being a major source of funding for the extremist group.
The field was liberated in February by Kurdish and Syrian rebel troops united under the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) banner, who are now working to restore operations at the fields.
People living in the area say that before leaving the facility damaged and plundered, foreign IS militants made ample use of its oil deposits.
Ghazi Hussein, a resident of Hasakah province, who witnessed the terrorists having Jabisah under their control, said they were transferring oil to Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa and then to Turkey through the Tell Abyad checkpoint on the Turkish-Syrian border.
“Then they sold it [oil] to Turkey in exchange for dollars and weapons,” Hussein said, adding that Syrian historical artefacts were also smuggled to Turkey.
The jihadists used hundreds of oil tankers they obtained after capturing the Iraqi city of Mosul to transport the illegal oil, the locals say.
“All the tankers were from Iraq. They were filled with Syrian oil. The oil was taken to Raqqa and then to Turkey,” another resident of Hasakah province, Amir Al Hajj, told RT Arabic.
Jabisah oil field is one of the largest in Syria, capabale of producing 2.2 million cubic meters of gas and 80,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
“When we came, IS were here. They destroyed everything, stole oil and gasoline,” an SDF fighter, Matin Karzero, told RT Arabic.
“We, the Syrian Democratic Forces, came here to protect the oil fields for them to be used for the benefit of the Syrian people after reconstruction,” he added.
In March, RT Documentary crew visited Shaddadi and some other towns in northern Syria, shortly after their liberation from the militants.
There, the journalists saw invoices detailing the large-scale illegal oil trade carried out by the jihadists, as well as Islamist propaganda brochures printed in Turkey.
They also interviewed an IS fighter, detained by the Kurds, who confirmed that the group was selling oil to Turkey.
The RT crew also filmed passports of the deceased or escaped jihadists, many of which contained stamps issued at Turkish border checkpoints.
In late 2015, the Russian military released a batch of evidence, including satellite images, of columns of oil tanker trucks moving into Turkey from the areas controlled by Islamic State in Syria.