That is probably a low estimate, as one U.S. official told ABC News that the figure is in “the high hundreds of millions of dollars."
As part of the effort to weaken ISIS, the U.S. military has struck at ISIS’s finances, particularly its lucrative oil smuggling enterprise in Syria that provides revenue for its operations.
Beginning last fall, the U.S. also began targeting ISIS “cash distribution centers” in Syria where ISIS stored hard cash used for its operations.
American officials believe the strikes have had an impact on ISIS operations often citing anecdotal reports that ISIS fighters are now being paid half what they had been receiving prior to the airstrikes targeting the group’s money operations.
According to Warren, the U.S. now estimates that “hundreds of millions of dollars” in cash has been destroyed by airstrikes targeting ISIS financial centers, an increase from the vague “tens of thousands” he had described in recent weeks. But Warren declined to provide a range for the new estimate.
An additional 20 kilograms of gold is also believed to have been destroyed by the airstrikes.
The official said five airstrikes near Mosul this weekend targeted two ISIS financial distribution centers and two ISIS financial storage centers.
“Obviously, it's impossible to burn up every single bill,” said Warren. “So presumably they were able to collect a little bit of it back. But we believe it was a significant series of strikes that have put a real dent in their wallet.”