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US official claims gains in curtailing IS oil smuggling

Energy and Iraq experts question US assertions of success in closing longstanding smuggling routes used by Islamic militants to send oil and other products from Iraq and Syria to Turkey and Jordan.
A man points at damage at an oil refinery and a gas station that were targeted by what activists said were U.S.-led air strikes, in the town of Tel Abyad of Raqqa governorate, near the border with Turkey October 2, 2014. Air strikes believed to have been carried out by U.S.-led forces hit three makeshift oil refineries in Syria's Raqqa province early on Sunday as part of an assault to weaken Islamic State (IS) militants, a human rights group said. The United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq agai

Amos Hochstein, the State Department’s special envoy and coordinator for International Energy Affairs, said Dec. 8 that the US-led effort to reduce Islamic State (IS) oil revenues has been “remarkably successful in a relatively short period of time,” but independent experts questioned whether the gains extend to local markets and long-standing smuggling corridors.

Hochstein provided no firm estimates about the amount of oil and refined products the jihadist group is selling but asserted, in comments before the American Security Project, that “the Wild West days are over” when it comes to such sales.

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