For many years it was thought ISIS got its funding mainly from oil. Due to the lack of proof, there was a lot of speculation and guessing about the source of their income. Many were convinced they were funded by the Arabic Gulf States.Recently however, some documents were confiscated containing the income and expenses of the Deir az-Zor province in East-Syria, which is under ISIS occupation since the beginning of 2014.

Aymen Jawad al-Tamimi, a Jihad expert, published and translated the documents on a Middle East forum, giving a good insight on their funding for the first time in many years.Surprising fact is that they appear to be completely self-sustaining.

  • Confiscations: 45%
  • Oil & Gas: 27.7 %
  • Taxes: 23.7 %

The majority of their income comes from confiscations of property and money. This can be land, houses, cars, animals and material that were abandoned by residents, or confiscating smuggled goods like cigarettes or alcohol on the borders.

With the occupation of the Deir-az-Zor province, ISIS gained control of some important oil wells in Syria. According to the document, they would make a total income of about $2.33 million per month by selling this crude oil for half the price on the black market. This is not even close to the $3 million daily that was assumed before.

The third main source of income are taxes. The areas controlled by ISIS are joined in the Islamic State, were they install the Sharia, the Islamic law, and their interpretation of Islam.

Any violation of these strict Islamic rules results in fines or confiscation.

The total income for one month in this province was $8,438 million. On the expenditure side the most important costs are:

  • Fighters’ salaries: 43.6%
  • Expenditures of military bases: 19.8%
  • Islamic Police: 17.7%

Most of their income is spent on maintaining the military treat.

Since they are self-sustaining, it won’t be possible to eliminate ISIS by cutting off their funding. The documents also reveal that ISIS still operate the Syrian and Iraq region separately and not as one big territory.

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