EU seeking stop to Islamic State oil sales from Syria

August 14, 2014

The European Union is looking into how it could tighten sanctions to stop Islamic State militants from selling oil from fields they have overrun in Syria, a European diplomat said on Wednesday.

The issue could come up at an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers called for Friday to discuss the humanitarian and security crisis in Iraq, where Islamic State fighters have made startling gains.

Islamic State is selling crude oil and gasoline to finance their newly declared "caliphate" after seizing oil fields in both Iraq and Syria.

The EU banned imports of Syrian oil in 2011 to intensify pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's government over its suppression of unrest. But in April 2013, it eased sanctions to allow purchases of oil from the moderate opposition in Syria.

EU experts are looking into whether the EU sanctions now need to be tightened up to make it harder for Islamic State fighters to sell oil from Syria, said the European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Copyright, Reuters, 2014.