Russian intelligence has spotted up to 12,000 tankers and trucks on the Turkish-Iraqi border, the General Staff of Russia’s armed forces has reported.
“The [aerial] imagery was made in the vicinity of Zakho (a city in Iraqi Kurdistan), there were 11,775 tankers and trucks on both sides of the Turkish-Iraqi border,” Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy told journalists on Friday.
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“It must be noted that oil from both Iraq and Syria come through this [Zakho] checkpoint,” General Rudskoy said.
Heavy-duty trucks loaded with oil continue to cross the Turkish-Syrian border as well, Rudskoy said. At the same time, the number of tankers on the northern and western routes used for transporting oil from Syria is declining, the general added.
“According to satellite data, the number of oil tankers moving through the ‘northern route’ towards the refinery in the [Turkish] city of Batman has considerably diminished,” Rudskoy said, adding that the number of tankers using the ‘western route,’ between the Turkish cities of Reyhanli [on the Syrian border] and the city of Iskenderun, has decreased to 265 vehicles.
The Russian Air Force in Syria has destroyed about 2,000 tankers used by the Islamists for oil transportation. In the last week, Russian warplanes eliminated 17 convoys of oil tankers and a number of installations used by terrorists for oil extraction and processing.
The Russian Air Force’s effective strikes in Syria have forced the terrorists to look for new routes for crude oil transportation. Today, tankers loaded with oil in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province, under Islamic State control, are moving towards the Iraqi border in the direction of Zakho and Mosul.
“However, despite a considerable diversion, the finishing point of the trafficking route remains Turkey,” Rudskoy said.