Anti-ISIS coalition’s ‘war on revenues’ hitting all Syrians

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Syrian Kurdish people arrive at the border between Syria and Turkey after several mortars hit both side in the southeastern town of Suruc, in the Sanliurfa province on September 29, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Bulent Kilic)

By: Suhaib Anjarini

Published Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The international coalition’s airstrikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front in Syria entered their second week today, with dozens of air raids and missile attacks targeting regions in al-Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, al-Hasaka, Aleppo and Idlib.

While US officials, whose country is leading the anti-ISIS coalition, confirmed that “the strikes were successful,” ISIS has remained quiet and has yet to issue any “official” statement.

However, al-Nusra Front admitted to bearing heavy losses after its garrisons came under attack, and its leader Abu Mohammed al-Joulani warned that this “will impact the entire region and not just Nusra.”

A general overview of the locations targeted by the coalition forces suggests that the airstrikes on al-Nusra in Aleppo and Idlib’s countrysides, during the first few days of the operation, have an obvious short term impact, while constant coalition strikes on regions under ISIS’ control have a strategic dimension and their repercussions may go beyond ISIS.

In the first few days, strikes on ISIS were limited to some of the organization’s bases and training camps, but were later expanded to include oil wells, refineries, gas fields and grain silos.

Although some reports suggested that these attacks sought to “dry up ISIS’ sources of revenue,” other sources warned that such actions actually target “Syria’s infrastructure and economy.”

A Syrian source belonging to the so-called moderate opposition told Al-Akhbar, “The recent strikes are going in the right direction to topple both the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the regime.”

The source explained that “in order to topple both parties, some sacrifices ought to be made, and bombing oil wells and gas fields is just the beginning.” He also called for “targeting oil and gas pipelines, and power stations that provide regions under the regime’s control with electricity.”

“These measures will be taken sooner than expected, even if the rebels have to take these measures by themselves,” he said, adding “a war on resources may form an acceptable alternative to a no-fly zone.”

However, civilians were the first to pay the price for these attacks which caused oil prices to skyrocket. Besides, any additional targeting of Syrian oil fields threatens to bring more grief to the region, especially as winter nears.

ISIS’ power base has not crumbled yet in the regions under its control. Instead, the group is keeping a tight grip on the area.

For example, ISIS recently raided a number of regions in Deir Ezzor’s eastern countryside to capture members of al-Shouaitat clan who had fled to the area, while the group continues to advance toward the Kurdish regions in Aleppo’s countryside.

Speaking to Al-Akhbar, an ISIS source on the battlefield said ISIS “is close to liberating the area and defeating the infidel Kurdish forces.”

“All the news reported by the crusaders’ media outlets and their allies concerning the number of ISIS martyrs, are lies,” the source said, “they have been lying ever since the crusaders’ invasion of Iraq, as [ISIS’ official spokesperson] Sheikh al-Adnani has already revealed.”

The source who was not authorized to share information about the real number of casualties in ISIS’ ranks, said “our cell just finished drafting a report today [referring to yesterday, September 29] about the situation in the region in Raqqa’s eastern countryside, and it showed that the crusaders’ assaults did not have any major impact.”

For his part, a jihadi source affiliated to al-Nusra Front said “the raids do not distinguish between civilians and jihadis, it is obvious to everyone that the coalition of infidels is targeting all Muslims.”

“Their attacks on jihadis are mere attempts to help their minions in traitorous brigades to control the liberated regions after eliminating the jihadis,” the source added.

Speaking to Al-Akhbar, the source revealed that “about 150 people were martyred in regions under Nusra’s control,” but he refused to give more details about this figure, saying “we do not distinguish between a jihadi and a civilian, everyone here is a jihadi and we consider them martyrs for God.”

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

“…but [strikes] were later expanded to include oil wells, refineries, gas fields and grain silos.” These are not hitting the ISIS but destroying Syria’s infrastructures, making it difficult and painful for Syria to stand up, even after it “wins” the war. The real winner in all this seems to be the US of A.

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