East Syria Economy in Ruins as US Destroys Privately-Owned Refineries

Officials Presented Attacks as Cutting Off 'ISIS Funding'

The economy of eastern, ISIS-held Syria is in ruins after some of the ugliest cases of civilian infrastructure targeting in years by US warplanes, as officials bragged about cutting off “ISIS funding” by wiping out most of the oil refineries in the area.

It’s presented as a destruction of “ISIS oil refineries,” but they’re not. They’re actually privately-owned refineries belonging to individuals and small companies in the region.

ISIS indeed gets some of the proceeds from the sales through taxation, like any de facto state does. Yet the concerted effort to cripple the economy of a region filled with millions of people with military strikes is definitely a war crime, and one the US is gleefully bragging about.

For civilians in ISIS-held territory, the price of refined petroleum has spiked dramatically in the past week, with the US attacks wiping out a lot of the supply. That’s the lifeblood of the oil rich region’s economy, and the war’s clearly not going to stop there.

Yesterday, the US warplanes also attacked multiple grain silos in eastern Syria, killing civilians and destroying a large amount of stored food. Though the initial assessment was that this was an accidental targeting, the US war seems to be aiming for these sorts of targets, and less and less concerned about the civilians it kills along the way.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.