While the US has long hyped the problem of ISIS oil smuggling, the recent Russian Defense Ministry presentation, showing significant evidence of Turkey being involved in buying ISIS oil and taking it to refineries run by the Turkish government, has changed their tune.
After a previous denial of the allegation against Turkey, the US is now admitting that the oil is ending up smuggled into Turkey, but insists it is “of no significance” because so much of the oil produced in ISIS-controlled parts of Syria is consumed inside Syria.
“The amount of oil being smuggled is extremely low and has decreased over time,” claimed US special envoy Amos Hochstein, a stunning admission which suggests the US was well aware of oil smuggling into Turkey even before the Russian evidence.
It also dramatically undercuts the US military’s strategy in Syria, which centers on blowing up oil trucks in the area to stop the smuggling. If the US believes that smuggling is totally insignificant, it suggests the strikes are being continued with no real expectation of it amounting to anything.
Russia, by contrast, still believes the smuggling is significant, and has reported it will continue to target oil convoys heading for the Turkish border.