By Tsvetana Paraskova
Islamic State was selling oil and gas to the Syrian regime and to Turkey, while the militants were ruling over large areas in Syria and Iraq over the past three years, a senior ISIS commander said in an interview with the Kurdistan 24 news outlet on Sunday.
“Oil and gas obtained by the Islamic State was sold to Turkey and the Syrian regime,” Razeek Radeek Maksimo, an Azerbaijani national and formerly senior ISIS commander, told Kurdistan 24 from a prison in Rojava where he is held by Syrian Kurdish authorities.
“[Oil] was sold to Turkey through the Free Syrian Army (FSA),” Maksimo told Kurdistan 24.
The detainee has claimed that he was only responsible for a number of checkpoints in territories run by ISIS. According to information that Kurdistan 24 has obtained from the Kurdish authorities in northern Syria, Maksimo was a senior commander at one of the strategic institutions of ISIS in Raqqa, northern Syria, the self-proclaimed capital of the militants who were expelled from it in October last year.
According to Maksimo, the dealings between Islamic State, the Syrian regime, and Turkey were complicated, but there was communication between the parties.
Before ending up in a Rojava prison, Maksimo was detained by ISIS’ so-called security services because they suspected that he was planning to flee.
“People under the Islamic State’s rule suffered a lot of injustices and oppression. This is why I planned to flee, but I failed,” the former senior ISIS commander told Kurdistan 24.
Last month, the U.S-led coalition fighting Islamic State said that it had killed the leader of the militants responsible for its oil and gas smuggling operations. Abu Khattab al-Iraqi, the leader of ISIS’s oil network who managed revenue generation through the illicit sale of oil and gas, was killed in Syria’s Middle Euphrates River Valley on May 26, together with three other ISIS members affiliated with its oil and gas operations, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said in June.