(Long War Journal)
The US-led military coalition against ISIS has been rapidly increasing its pace of operations against militant targets in both Syria and Iraq.
On Monday, US planes destroyed an estimated 280 ISIS oil trucks near the border between Syria and Iraq, NBC reported, citing unnamed US officials. The strike was carried out by A-10 Warthogs and AC-130 Specter Gunships.
In a statement, the US-led coalition said that near the cities of Al-Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor, one attack destroyed 283 ISIS vehicles.
The warplanes used precision-guided bombs and strafing runs with cannon fire to destroy the tankers. Strafing runs are when low-flying aircraft attack ground targets with mounted automatic weapons.
To limit civilian casualties, the US dropped leaflets over the tankers before the attack that said "run immediately or you will be killed," the officials told NBC.
The destruction of the ISIS oil trucks follows a major weekend of strikes against the militants. According to the statement from the Combined Joint Task Force responsible for carrying out operations against ISIS, which is also known as the Islamic State or ISIL, coalition forces carried out a series of heavy strikes over the past two days.
On Sunday, US-led coalition forces struck five ISIS positions in Syria and 11 positions in Iraq. The targets included a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device facility — one of ISIS' most damaging weapons — and earthen bridges the group constructed and various ISIS tactical units and fighting positions.
And on Saturday, coalition forces carried out two strikes against ISIS oil facilities in Syria.
The US carried out its first strike against ISIS' oil trucks on November 16. The strike destroyed 116 ISIS oil trucks and marked a shift in US strategy from attacking only military targets to new attempts to disrupt ISIS' cash flow.
ISIS controls the vast majority of oil fields and refineries in Syria and a number in Iraq. According to The New York Times, ISIS is estimated to be able to earn $40 million a month through the production and sale of oil on the black market.
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