A group of Kurdish and Syrian smugglers is selling oil from the territories under the control of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq to Israel, the Arabic language paper Rai al-Yum reported on Monday, citing Russian media reports. Apparently, ISIS produces from 20 to 40 thousand oil barrels daily, bringing in from one to one and a half million dollars each day. The oil is pumped from two major fields in the province of Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, and from two fields in Iraq, and it is transported by convoys to the Kurdish city of Zakho, located a few miles from the Iraqi-Turkish border, where the smugglers wait for it. This is where Turkish and Israeli brokers go as well.
From Zakho the oil is transported to the Turkish town of Silopi, in southeastern Anatolia, where it is marked as oil from the Kurdish areas. It is sold at between 15 to 18 dollars a barrel to “Dr. Fried,” an Israeli broker described as being in his 50s, who has a Greek citizenship. This broker transfers the oil to several ports in Turkey, where they are delivered to several consumers, chiefly Israel.
Last August, the Financial Times reported that 75% of Israel’s oil supply comes from Iraqi Kurdistan, and more than a third of the barrels arrive through the Turkish port of Jihan, which is the destination of ISIS oil. “Israel has become, one way or another, the main buyer for ISIS oil,” a senior European oil industry executive said in an interview with the newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
“Without them, most of the oil would pass between Iraq, Syria and Turkey,” he added, “but even these three countries would not buy all the oil, if Israel would not buy it.” The source said that many countries have refrained from purchasing smuggled oil, despite the relatively cheap price, because of the implications on the fight against the Islamic State.