A senior American military official says that air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition may have destroyed as much as $800 million of cash held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).
The BBC reports that Major General Peter Gersten, speaking from Baghdad, told reporters that fewer than 20 air strikes had targeted cash stores in parts of Iraq and Syria controlled by the group. In one case, the BBC says, an estimated $150 million in cash was destroyed when U.S.-led forces received intelligence identifying a room in Mosul, Iraq, where the group was storing the banknotes.
Gersten said successes targeting ISIS’s cash flow were causing more fighters to defect because of lower salaries.
“We’re seeing a fracture in their morale, we’re seeing their inability to pay, we’re seeing the inability to fight, we’re watching them try to leave Daesh in every single way,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the group.