The Islamic State has been forced to cut its fighters salaries in half, according to documents leaked from inside ISIS territory.
While ISIS is seen as a simple group of terrorists, in reality it operates more like a government throughout parts of Iraq and Syria. The group hands out biweekly paychecks to its jihadist army in order to stay in operation.
The pay for a typical ISIS soldier is $400 to $1,200 per month, plus a $50 stipend for their wives and $25 for each child, according to the Congressional Research Service.
“On account of the exceptional circumstances the Islamic State is facing, it has been decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahideen by half, and it is not allowed for anyone to be exempted from this decision, whatever his position,” the ISIS’ government wrote in a memorandum.
Despite a major shift in salaries and finances in general, the group says it “will continue to distribute provisions twice every month as usual.”
The leaked document was obtained by Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a leading scholar who tracks ISIS. He’s also a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
ISIS leaders don’t explain why they decided to cut fighter salaries. The group makes most of its money by taxing those under its control.
Airstrikes have taken aim at the ISIS oil business: blowing up oil trucks, storage tanks, mobile refineries and other oil field equipment.
ISIS was earning $40 million a month on oil alone in early 2015, according to the U.S. Treasury. Now, it’s making a fraction of that money according to the State Department.