ISIS' finances are taking a serious hit, and it's hurting morale inside the terror group

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
The US Blew Up a Huge Stash of ISIS' Cash

As a US-led coalition hammers ISIS' oil infrastructure and other financial institutions in the Middle East, the terror group has cut salaries and infighting has broken out within the rank and file and senior leadership.

Reports of infighting within ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh) aren't new, but increased financial and territorial losses might be worsening the stress fractures that are splintering the group.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that ISIS is now facing an "unprecedented cash crunch" as the coalition ramps up strikes on its sources of wealth. Strikes have been hitting oil refineries and tankers as well as banks and buildings that hold hard cash.

SEE ALSO: The Panama Papers leak reveals just how badly the 1% is screwing everyone else over

ISIS salaries are taking a hit as a result of the financial losses. Some units reportedly aren't being paid at all, and some fighters' salaries have been cut in half, according to The Post.

The salary cuts specifically appear "to have significantly hit the organization's morale," according to Charles Lister, a resident fellow at the Middle East Institute.

Learn more about the history of ISIS:

32 PHOTOS
History of the Islamic State
See Gallery
ISIS' finances are taking a serious hit, and it's hurting morale inside the terror group

RNPS: YEAREND REVIEW 2014 - HEADLINE MAKERS Militant Islamist fighters hold the flag of Islamic State (IS) while taking part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province in this June 30, 2014 file photo. 2014 saw the rise of the Sunni militant group Islamic State, which has seized swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq.

(REUTERS/Stringer)

A man purported to be Islamic State captive Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh (in orange jumpsuit) stands in front of armed men in this still image from an undated video filmed from an undisclosed location made available on social media on February 3, 2015. Islamic State militants released the video on Tuesday purporting to show Kasaesbeh being burnt alive, and Jordanian state television said he was murdered a month ago. Reuters could not immediately confirm the video, which showed a man resembling the captive pilot standing in a black cage before being set ablaze.

(REUTERS/Social media via Reuters TV)

Smoke rises over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 18, 2014. A U.S.-led military coalition has been bombing Islamic State fighters who hold a large swathe of territory in both Iraq and Syria, two countries involved in complex multi-sided civil wars in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake.

(REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

This handout image provided by the Iraqi Prime Minister office shows Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki holding photographs of a man identified by the Iraqi government as al-Qaida leader in Iraq Abu Omar al-Baghdadi at a news conference on April 19, 2010 in Baghdad, Iraq. Nouri announced the deaths of Abu Ayyub al-Masri along with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. US Military oficials confirmed U.S. and Iraqi forces killed the two al-Qaida figures in a nighttime rocket attack on a safe house near Tikrit.

(Photo by Iraqi Prime Minister office via Getty Images)

BAGHDAD, IRAQ, FEBRUARY 21: An Iraqi security officer patrols the grounds at the newly opened Baghdad Central Prison in Abu Ghraib on February 21, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. The Iraqi Ministry of Justice has renovated and reopened the previously named 'Abu Ghraib' prison and renamed the site to Baghdad Central Prison. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice about 400 prisoners were transferred to the prison which can hold up to 3000 inmates. The prison was established in 1970 and it became synonymous with abuse under the U.S. occupation.

(Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images)

An Iraqi soldier guards the site where allegedly top Al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, were killed in a joint Iraqi-US military raid in Al-Dhahiriya in Salaheddin province, 280 kms north of Baghdad, on April 20, 2010. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the US military said on April 19 that Baghdadi and Masri were killed in a raid on a safehouse, which yielded computers filled with emails and messages to bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD SALEH (Photo credit should read Mahmud Saleh/AFP/Getty Images)

A shrine for Iraqi Christians who were killed in Al-Qaeda siege is erected at the Sayidat al-Nejat (Our Lady of Salvation) Church in Baghdad on December 23, 2010 as Christmas for Iraq's Christian community will this year be a time of fear and cancelled celebrations instead of rejoicing following renewed threats by Al-Qaeda and the church massacre.

(ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)

An Iraqi woman walks past destroyed shops on the ground floor of a building the day after twin car bombs in the Karrada area of the capital Baghdad on August 1, 2012, in which some 12 people were killed. July was the deadliest month in Iraq in almost two years, with 325 people killed in attacks, and included the deadliest day here since December 2009, official figures released showed.

(AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/GettyImages)

A lorry drives past a sign welcoming people to the 'Islamic State of Gao' at the entrance of the northern Malian city of Gao, on March 9, 2013. After nine months of occupation by Islamic militants, and subsequent liberation by French troops, Gao is slowly shedding its hardline Islamic way of life, with bars serving beer making a long awaited comeback. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

A fighter of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fires an anti-aircraft weapon from Tel Tawil village in the direction of Islamic State fighters positioned in the countryside of the town of Tel Tamr February 25, 2015. Kurdish militia pressed an offensive against Islamic State in northeast Syria on Wednesday, cutting one of its supply lines from Iraq, as fears mounted for dozens of Christians abducted by the hardline group. The Assyrian Christians were taken from villages near the town of Tel Tamr, some 20 km (12 miles) to the northwest of the city of Hasaka. There has been no word on their fate. There have been conflicting reports on where the Christians had been taken.

(REUTERS/Rodi Said))

German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on September 15, 2014 on the opening of his trial on charges of fighting for Islamic State (IS) in Syria, in Germany's first court proceedings involving the militant group. The defendant was arrested in December 2013 at Frankfurt airport in western Germany on his way home from Syria.

(THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images)

An image grab taken from an AFPTV video on September 16, 2014 shows a jihadist from the Islamic State (IS) group standing on the rubble of houses after a Syrian warplane was reportedly shot down by IS militants over the Syrian town of Raqa. The plane crashed into a house in the Euphrates Valley city, the sole provincial capital entirely out of Syrian government control, causing deaths and injuries on the ground.

(AFP/Getty Images)

Smoke rises in the distance behind an Islamic State (IS) group flag and banner after Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters reportedly captured several villages from IS group jihadists in the district of Daquq, south of the northern Iraqi multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk on September 11, 2015. An Iraqi officer said that the operation was launched in the morning with support from international coalition aircraft, and has succeeded in retaking ten villages from IS.

(MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqi Shiite fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitaries drive a T-72 tank as they advance near the town of Tal Abtah, south of Tal Afar, on November 30, 2016 during a broad offensive by Iraq forces to retake the city Mosul from jihadists of the Islamic State group.

(AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr., Joint Staff Director of Operations Director of Operations, shows before and after photos as he speaks on the airstrikes in Syria during a briefing at the Pentagon September 23, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mayville briefed the press about US and Arab nation joint airstrikes against Islamic State(IS) group targets in Syria and unilateral airstrikes against an al-Qaeda group in Syria.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State (IS) kneel in front of armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from an undated video made available on social media on February 15, 2015. Islamic State released the video on Sunday purporting to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya. In the video, militants in black marched the captives to a beach that the group said was near Tripoli. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded. Egypt's state news agency MENA quoted the spokesman for the Coptic Church as confirming that 21 Egyptian Christians believed to be held by Islamic State were dead.

(REUTERS/Social media via Reuters TV)

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held crisis talks with leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Tuesday urging them to stand with Baghdad in the face of a Sunni insurgent onslaught that threatens to dismember the country. Picture taken June 23, 2014.

(REUTERS/Stringer)

Members of the Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades), a group formed by Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, march in Iraq's holy city of Najaf as they prepare to reinforce government forces in the fight against the Islamic State group for control of Fallujah, east of the capital, on May 17, 2016. Iraqi security forces and allied fighters have regained significant ground from the jihadists, securing the Ramadi area earlier this year and retaking the town of Heet last month. But parts of Anbar -- including Fallujah -- are still under IS control, as is most of Nineveh province, to its north.

(HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

An Iraqi Policeman watches a drone hover near the village of Arbid, on the southern Mosul front, on November 12, 2016 during the ongoing military operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) group. Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to retake the country's second city from the Islamic State group on October 17, and the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) special forces have pushed the jihadists back from some Mosul neighbourhoods.

(ACHILLEAS ZAVALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A MI 28 provides aerial support as Shiite fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation), enter the village of al-Tofaha, southeast of the city of Tal Afar, on November 25, 2016, during an ongoing operation against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. The Popular Mobilisation have focused their operations on Tal Afar, a large town still held by IS west of Mosul and this week announced they had cut the main road between it and Syria.

(AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

Shiite fighters stands near a wall painted with the black flag commonly used by Islamic State militants in the town of Tal Ksaiba, near the town of al-Alam, March 7, 2015. Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite militia fighters struggled to advance on Saturday into the two towns of al-Alam and al-Dour near Tikrit, their progress slowed by fierce defence from Islamic State militants.

(REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)

F16 fighter jets from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) arrive at an air base in Jordan February 8, 2015. A squadron of F16 jet fighters from the United Arab Emirates arrived in Jordan on Sunday a day after the Gulf state announced it was being sent to bolster the coalition's military effort against the Islamic State. It will conduct joint air strikes with Jordanian colleagues against the Islamic militants, Jordanian officials said on Saturday.

(REUTERS/Petra News Agency)

Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr. speaks about the Syrian bombing campaign September 23, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mayville talked about the U.S. and Arab air strikes in Syria against the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A girl holds up a poster with pictures of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded by Islamic State in Libya, as they gather in a gesture to show their solidarity, in front of the Egyptian embassy in Amman February 17, 2015.

(REUTERS/ Muhammad Hamed)

Shi'ite fighters, from the brigades of peace loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), take part in field training in Najaf, August 23, 2014.

(REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani)

A Kurdish fighter keeps guard while overlooking positions of Islamic State militants near Mosul in northern Iraq August 19, 2014. Sunni Muslim fighters led by the Islamic State swept through much of northern and western Iraq in June, capturing the Sunni cities of Tikrit and Mosul as well as the Mosul dam, which controls water and power supplies to millions of people down the Tigris river valley.

(REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)

AL-QARYATAYN, SYRIA. APRIL 7, 2016. The Mar Elian Catholic monastery burnt by Islamic State (IS) militants. 

(Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Shi'ite fighters look at smoke rising from clashes during a battle with Islamic State militants at the airport of Tal Afar west of Mosul, Iraq November 18, 2016.

(REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)

Indonesian soldiers from the 2nd Airborne Division patrol after parachuting from a transport aircraft near Masani village, Poso, Central Sulawesi March 31, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Indonesia has launched military exercises in the eastern island of Sulawesi, a haven for radical Islamists, as part of broader efforts to crack down on militants with suspected links to the Islamic State group, officials said on Tuesday. The drills come amid heightened government concerns over a rising number of Indonesians pledging loyalty to Islamic State (IS) and trying to join the group fighting in Iraq and Syria.

(REUTERS/Antara Foto/Zainuddin)

An Iraqi soldier holds an Islamist State flag, after pulling it down during a military operation against Islamic State militants in Al-Qasar, southeast of Mosul, Iraq, November 29, 2016.

(REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani)

A man walks in a street with abandoned vehicles and damaged buildings in the northern Syrian town of Kobani January 30, 2015. Sheets meant to hide residents from snipers' sights still hang over streets in the Syrian border town of Kobani, and its shattered buildings and cratered roads suggest those who fled are unlikely to return soon. Kurdish forces said this week they had taken full control of Kobani, a mainly Kurdish town near the Turkish border, after months of bombardment by Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has spread across Syria and Iraq.

(REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"There are more and more frequent reports ... of infighting, armed clashes breaking out in the middle of the night in places like Raqqa between rival factions," Lister said Friday during a panel discussion in Washington, DC, referring to ISIS' de-facto capital in Syria.

"These are all indications of a significant drop in morale and a decrease in internal cohesion. And the cohesion argument was always something that analysts like myself always said was one of ISIS' strongest strengths."

Part of what has made ISIS' message so potent is the money that has come along with it — which is said to be a major factor in ISIS' recruiting success. For locals in war-torn Syria especially, ISIS has been able to offer more money than people could hope to make elsewhere.

But the salary cuts have strained the loyalties of fighters to the group.

Abu Sara, a 33-year-old engineer from Iraq, told The Post that ISIS members are becoming disillusioned.

"Their members are getting quite angry. Either they are not getting salaries or getting much less than they used to earn," Sara said. "All of the people I am in contact with want to escape, but they don't know how."

Some fighters "throw down their weapons and mingle with the civilians" in battle, according to Sara.

isis map

ISIS' financial problems are compounded by the group's territorial losses. Syrian forces recently retook the ancient city of Palmyra, while Iraqi forces are starting to move in toward Mosul, ISIS' stronghold in Iraq.

Territorial losses could hurt ISIS' recruiting efforts because they run counter to the group's central message of "remaining and expanding."

The losses also hit at ISIS' coffers because taxation and extortion make up a large share of ISIS' revenues. Unlike other terror groups that rely on outside donations from wealthy individuals, ISIS squeezes money from the local populations it controls.

SEE ALSO: Republicans can't stop talking about Paul Ryan making a surprise late entry into the presidential race

However, ISIS isn't likely to disappear anytime soon.

Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi military strategist, told The Post that ISIS still controls significant oil resources across the territory it holds in Iraq and Syria.

Related: Victims of ISIS:

15 PHOTOS
ISIS beheading incidents and hostages
See Gallery
ISIS' finances are taking a serious hit, and it's hurting morale inside the terror group

A screen grab from a video posted to YouTube by ISIS that claims to show journalist James Foley, who was abducted in 2012 while covering the Syria civil war, being beheaded.

(YouTube)

GlobalPost Journalist James Foley talks about being held by the Libyan Government. Foley was later abducted in Syria and a video by Islamic State militants was released in 2014 that purported to show his killing by the militant group.

(Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Lebaneses carry the funeral of Lebanese soldier Ali al-Sayyed (28) who kidnapped by Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front members and killed by Islamic State members, in Akkar, Lebanon on 3 September, 2014.

(Photo by Mahmud Saleh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Execution of Steven Sotloff by Jihadi John of ISIS. In August 2013, Sotloff was kidnapped in Aleppo, Syria, and held captive by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Jihadi John (Mohammed Emwazi, born August 1988) a British man who is thought to be the person seen in several videos produced by the Islamic extremist group ISIL showing the beheadings of a number of captives in 2014 and 2015.

(Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

The mother (C) of Lebanese soldier Abbas Medlej, who was beheaded by Islamic State militants in Arsal, mourns in his hometown in Ansar, south Baalbak September 7, 2014. Islamic State militants have beheaded the captive Lebanese soldier, images published on social media showed on Saturday, the second Lebanese soldier to be killed in captivity by the group since it raided a Lebanese border town last month.

(REUTERS/Ahmad Shalha)

A masked, black-clad militant, who has been identified by the Washington Post newspaper as a Briton named Mohammed Emwazi, stands next to a man purported to be David Haines in this still image from a video obtained from SITE Intel Group website February 26, 2015. The "Jihadi John" killer who has featured in several Islamic State beheading videos is Emwazi, a Briton from a middle class family who grew up in London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming, the Washington Post newspaper said. In videos released by Islamic State (IS), the masked, black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent appears to have carried out the beheadings of hostages including Americans and Britons. The Washington Post said Emwazi, who used the videos to threaten the West and taunt leaders such as President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, was believed to have travelled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined IS. British government sources and the police refused to confirm or deny the report, citing a live anti-terrorism investigation, a position mirrored by a spokeswoman for Cameron.

(REUTERS/SITE Intel Group via Reuters TV)

A man makes the victory sign behind a picture of Herve Gourdel, the hiker beheaded by Algerian militants linked to the Islamic State group during a demonstration in support of Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria on October 2, 2014 in Marseille, southern France.

(BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Screen shot from an Internet video released Friday that purports to show an ISIS militant beheading British aid worker Alan Henning, who had been taken hostage by the extremist group.

(YouTube)

The order of service for the memorial service for murdered British aid worker Alan Henning at Eccles Parish Church on November 22, 2014 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The 47-year-old taxi driver was captured in December while delivering food and supplies to Syrian refugees and was murdered by Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.

(Photo by Andy Kelvin - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Yellow ribbons for murdered British hostage Alan Henning, are attached to trees in the town centre of Eccles, north west England on October 4, 2014. Britain reacted with horror on Saturday to the beheading of hostage Alan Henning, who many had dared to hope might be spared after a cross-community appeal for his release. Prime Minister David Cameron led tributes to the 47-year-old taxi driver who went to the region as a volunteer to deliver aid and whose death was announced by Islamic State jihadists in a video released late Friday.

(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

A man walks past screens displaying a television news programme showing an image of Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese citizens taken captive by Islamic State militants, on a street in Tokyo January 25, 2015. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday called the apparent killing of Japanese captive Haruna Yukawa by Islamic State militants "outrageous and impermissible," and again called for the group to release Goto, the second Japanese national they are holding. The words on the screen read "Japanese hostage incident" (top L) and "a still image posted on YouTube" (top R).

(REUTERS/Yuya Shino)

Jordanian youth gather for a candle light vigil to condemn the killing of the two Japanese hostages, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, by the Islamic State (ISIS) group, in a gesture showing solidairity with Japanese people, in front of the Japanese embassy on February 2, 2015 in Amman, Jordan.

(Photo by Jordan Pix/Getty Images)

Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State (IS) kneel in front of armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from an undated video made available on social media on February 15, 2015. Islamic State released the video on Sunday purporting to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya. In the video, militants in black marched the captives to a beach that the group said was near Tripoli. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded. Egypt's state news agency MENA quoted the spokesman for the Coptic Church as confirming that 21 Egyptian Christians believed to be held by Islamic State were dead.

(REUTERS/Social media via Reuters TV)

A woman cries as she prays for Tomislav Salopek in a local church in Vrpolje village, Croatia, August 12, 2015. An Egyptian group allied to Islamic State has published a photograph it says showed the beheaded body of a Croatian hostage it threatened to kill last week, the SITE monitoring service said on Wednesday. Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the picture, which carried a caption that said: "killing of the Croatian hostage, due to his country's participation in the war against Islamic State, after the deadline expired." Last week, an online video purportedly from Sinai Province showed a man who identified himself as Tomislav Salopek and said the group would kill him in 48 hours unless Muslim women in Egyptian jails were freed.

(REUTERS/Antonio Bronic)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"They're not going through a financial crisis that will lead to their collapse," Hashimi told the newspaper. "They still have 60 percent of Syrian oil wells and 5 percent of Iraq's."

NOW WATCH: Everything you need to know about the Trump-Cruz debacle

See Also:

SEE ALSO: 'It was a shock': ISIS leader's ex-wife speaks out

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners