As Russia intensifies airstrikes on the terrorists’ oil smuggling routes, the Russian defense ministry released footage of Su-34 bombers destroying an ISIS oil-refining plant near the Syrian city of Ras al-Ayn on the border with Turkey.
Released on Thursday the video shows Russian jets hitting the illegal oil reservoirs located on territory under Islamic State control.
“Strikes took technical equipment out of operation and inflamed oil products, causing a large fire at the plant,” reads the bulletin of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria from June 1.
Russia has repeatedly blamed Turkey for enabling IS and other militant groups to conduct illegal oil trade. Addressing the students of Belarusian State University earlier in May, Russia’s FM, Sergey Lavrov, argued that “Turkey did nothing to stop” the smuggling of oil, artifacts, and other goods through the porous Turkish-Syrian border. Moreover, there is “reason to believe that it [Turkey] even benefited from this.”
The new strike is part of intensified efforts by Russia to cut the funding of the terrorists’ activities in Syria.
General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff, said last week that the Russian air force had increased its “airstrikes against illegal oil production sites and smuggling routes to Turkey.”
On May 31, Russia carried out strikes near the Syrian city of Al-Taura, only 42 kilometers [26 miles] from Raqqa, Islamic State’s stronghold. Bombers “destroyed illegal terrorists’ oil production facilities” during the operation, the ministry of defense said.