In a series of short interviews posted online by the Nas Media Company (Iraq), captured senior ISIS operative Saddam Al-Jamal said that ISIS had made oil deals with the Syrian regime and with the Russians. He said that ISIS would deliver thousands of tankers full of oil to the Syrian regime, and in exchange the Syrian regime would allow food to enter ISIS territory. He added that before the Kurds conquered Al-Raqqa and cut off the roads to Idlib and Aleppo, the petroleum had gone to Turkey. He said that ISIS also reached deals with the Kurds that involved the stopping of military and intelligence operations in exchange for oil. Al-Jamal had been a brigade commander in the FSA before shifting his allegiance to ISIS, which appointed him commander of Abu Kamal, Syria. He was captured by Iraqi forces in May 2018. The interview was posted online on December 10, 2018.
Saddam Al-Jamal: The Syrian regime and the Russian regime reached deals with regard to the oil.
Interviewer: What kind of deals?
Saddam Al-Jamal: Regarding the oil.
Interviewer: Deals with whom?
Saddam Al-Jamal: Deals between ISIS and the Syrian regime, or the Russian regime, in general. Thousands of fuel tankers were delivered [from ISIS to the Syrian regime] in exchange for letting food [into ISIS territory]. This happened more than once. After a ceasefire was reached with the Kurds, mutual trade began. With the Kurds, it was not in exchange for oil, but in exchange for stopping the military and intelligence operations. They made deals on many issues. With the Syrian regime, there was trading of oil for a while… Tankers would be filed with oil at the wells in ISIS territory. They would then take it to Homs, which was under the control of the regime, unload it, and come back. In exchange, truckloads of food would go into ISIS territory. Syria was the state closest to ISIS at the time. At first, all the oil would go to Turkey. This was before the Kurds took over Al-Raqqa and cut of the roads to Idlib and Aleppo. When all these areas were still under the control of ISIS, all the petroleum would go to Turkey.