Documents abandoned by IS fighters and statements from captured IS fighters indicate an ongoing oil trade link between Ankara and Daesh. Seized files include invoices, quantities, and lorry information. Civilians have been forced to work in refineries. Often unmanned Turkish border crossings facilitate IS recruits and fighters movement.
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Documents abandoned by retreating Islamic State (IS) fighters in northern Syria found by Kurdish fighters, along with statements by captured fighters, provide evidence of a Turkey-IS oil trade link, this according to a documentary crew from the Russian RT television network.
Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) found the documents after they seized the city of Ash Shaddadi, and detained several foreign fighters from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who confirmed ties between Turkey and IS (also known by its Arabic acronym of Daesh)
Since Syria’s civil war broke out, IS took over large swathes of Syria and Iraq. Beheadings, mass killings, and enslavement of entire ethnic groups, as well as apparent involvement in the Paris and Brussels attacks have given the group wide publicity, which it has skillfully exploited online.
For some analysts and experts, running a viable military and political organisation would be impossible without external logistical and financial support.
In addition to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey is considered one of IS’s main supporters, something that Turkish authorities have vehemently denied. Facts on the ground tell another story.
Some of the files seized include detailed invoices used by IS to calculate daily revenues from their oil fields and refineries, as well as the amount of oil extracted there. All the documents have the IS logo at the top.
Each invoice had the driver’s name; the lorry’s type and weight, full and empty; as well as agreed price and invoice number.
One invoice dated 11 January 2016 says that IS had extracted some 1,925 barrels of oil from the Kabibah oil field and sold it for US$ 38,342.
RT spoke to local residents forced to work at IS-controlled oil field about what it was like working for the group’s refinery and where the oil was sold.
The latter “was delivered to an oil refinery, where it was converted into gasoline, gas and other petroleum products. Then the refined product was sold,” locals told the RT.
“Then intermediaries from Raqqa and Aleppo arrived to pick up the oil and often mentioned Turkey.”
A Turkish IS recruit captured by the Kurds provided important information about the IS-Turkish connection, claiming that IS sells oil to Turkey in such quantities that Turkish authorities had to know.
A Kurdish soldier also showed passports from the dead bodies of IS fighters, and documents of several jihadists who had come from all over the world, including countries such as Bahrain, Libya, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tunisia, and Turkey itself.
Captured foreign fighters said that they entered Syria and Iraq through unmanned Turkish crossing points.
Under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara’s logistical support for foreign fighters trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, or at least its non-interference with their cross-border movements, has been widely reported.
A lot of IS propaganda material has also been printed in Turkey.
Turkey is IS’s direct neighbour. “If it was willing to close the ‘connection’ between Turkey and IS, the terrorist organisation could no longer survive,” the author of the RT documentary said.