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Iran Press TV

US attacks on Syrian oil fields on the rise: White House

Iran Press TV

Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:57AM

The United States claims that Washington and its allies have expanded the extent of their airstrikes on Syrian oil fields only to disrupt Daesh (ISIL) terrorists' money flow.

US officials say that American military commanders have decided to increase the aerial attacks to inflict the kind of damage which takes longer to fix or requires specially-ordered parts, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Lieutenant General Charles Q. Brown Jr., the head of the campaign headquartered in the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, said last week that allied fighter jets are increasing attacks on a series of fixed targets such as oil-production facilities, bomb factories and other positions that Daesh utilizes to generate income.

The first attack under the new scheme was conducted on October 21, when US B1 bombers along with other allied warplanes hit 26 targets in the Omar oil field, one of Syria's two largest oil-production sites, located north of the strategic town of Mayadin near the Iraqi border.

According to American military analysts, Daesh rakes in $1.7 million to $5.1 million from the sales of al-Omar's oil. The terror group seized the oil field in July 2014, after the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front abandoned the facility.

"We intend to shut it all down," Colonel Steven H. Warren, a military spokesman in Baghdad told the Times.

The operation seeks to cripple eight major Syrian oil fields over the next several weeks, about two-thirds of which are said to be in Daesh's hands, the report added.

The eight major fields, namely; Omar, Tanak, El Isbah, Sijan, Jafra, Azraq, Barghooth and Abu Hardan have been under months of study and surveillance to determine how to inflict more financial pain on Daesh, American officials claimed.

In order to facilitate attacks, the United States has shifted some of its surveillance and reconnaissance planes from bases in the Persian Gulf to Turkey's Incirlik air base, which provides a much shorter flight path to Syria, allowing warplanes to spend more time engaging the targets.

American commanders have cautioned that, considering the scale of financial reserves the foreign-backed militant group has built up, it will take some time before the new scheme leaves the desired impact.

Unlike measuring the immediate impact of bombing tanks or soldiers, "it might be longer to feel the effect of oil fields," General Brown said.

America and some of its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been backing what they call "moderate" militants fighting against the Syrian government.

The airstrikes are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against alleged Daesh positions in Iraq, and Syria, which were set off August last year.

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