World

Reports: Syrian Refugee Crisis Causing Financial Hardship For ISIS

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Syrian RefugeesSyrian Refugees

The Islamic State (ISIS) is reportedly running out of money, due in part to the amount of refugees fleeing its lands for Europe.

ISIS, who refers to itself now as a caliphate, is having severe money problems because of the decreasing population, which has resulted in less tax revenue for the extremist group, its major source of income, Express.co.uk reported.

Many of those that remain in ISIS-controlled lands are stricken with poverty and unable to pay taxes. The money ISIS has is reportedly being used to purchase weapons and not provide for its people, causing unrest. 

"The only relief kitchen is run by locals,” Sayf Saeed, a dental student who escaped Syria for Iraq in June, told Express.co.uk. “Every day there's a line round the block. They give out one meal a day to the starving."

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The group is also reportedly now having trouble luring Western jihadists to its cause because of their lack of funds and the loss of a key member.

The death of British jihadi Junaid Hussain last month in a U.S. drone strike has reportedly caused foreign donors to stop funding ISIS. Hussain was the person responsible for ISIS’s online activity, including creating complex recruitment programs, hacking, and developing online scams to raise money for the terrorist group, according to American intelligence sources cited by Express.co.uk.

Another striking blow to their group is the loss of skilled workers, such as doctors and those that work in oil.

"The people who have highly desirable skill sets like doctors are fleeing,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counter terrorism analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said. “The oil industry is another area where they haven't preserved the level of talent that they need.

" ... If people are leaving because of ISIS’ inability to provide basic governance, that calls their legitimacy into question."

It was reported by CNN earlier this year that ISIS is experiencing financial troubles because of low oil prices and Western military action.

Oil revenue has been a major contributor to ISIS’s rise in power, but with the sharp fall in prices over the past year, and the discounts the group has to offer to buyers, the amount of money they are making has declined.

"The collapse in international oil prices since mid-2014 is likely to have pushed down their margins still further, reducing oil's contribution to the extremist group's overall income," risk consultancy firm Verisk Maplecroft said in a May report.

Western military action has targeted oil fields in Syria, of which ISIS controls about 60 percent, damaging infrastructure and destroying wells, refineries that are producing gas and diesel, as well as fuel convoys.

Verisk Maplecroft estimated that ISIS’s oil income has fallen to around $500,000 a day from as much as $1.6 million last summer.

Sources: CNN, Express / Photo credit: Freedom House/Flickr, YouTube