US Planes Left ISIS Fuel Tankers Unharmed Because 'They Ran Out of Ammunition'

By Susan Jones | November 24, 2015 | 12:13 PM EST

The United States and Russia are going after ISIS' oil industry, aiming to break the terrorists' biggest source of income. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. military conducted a second wave of attacks on (parked) ISIS oil tankers in Syria on Sunday, Nov. 22, but the attack fell short of its goal:

"The goal was to destroy every truck there. They ran out of ammunition before they were able to do that. But the desire was to destroy every single truck there," said Army Col. Steven Warren, the spokesman for the U.S.-led coaltion fighting ISIS.

At a news briefing on Tuesday, Warren played video of the ISIS fuel tankers being bombed or shot with machine gun fire from the air. Warren said all the trucks were targeted, but the video just shows "the good shots that you'd like."

As was the case with an earlier U.S. strike on ISIS fuel tankers, the Americans dropped leaflets warning the truck drivers that an attack was coming, so the tankers were not moving.

Warren called the airstrikes "another example of the type of accuracy that we're capable of here in the coalition."

A total of 283 fuel trucks were destroyed by American planes on Sunday: "A bomb would have been from an A-10, and then when you saw the guns, you know, the machine gun fire, that could either have been an A-10 or AC-130 Spectre Gunship."

"It's not a movie where you kind of fly along and just strafe, and you know, the trucks blow up. No, it's -- they struck each truck, or groups of two or three trucks. It is a machine gun, so there is a certain area aspect to it, right? You know, the gunfire isn't laser guided...So it's individual strike a truck, or two or three trucks; move to the next batch, strike them; move, strike; move, strike.

"So the goal was to destroy every truck there. They ran out of ammunition before they were able to do that. But the desire was to destroy every single truck there."

Combined with an earlier U.S. strike on ISIS fuel tankers, the U.S. military has now destroyed 399 of them, but Warren would not say how many are left: "I'm not going to tell you the total number of trucks out there...but we've still got a long way to go on trucks," he said.

Warren also disputed Russia's recent claim that it had attacked and destroyed 500 ISIS fuel tankers in the "same general region" last week.

"From what we saw, the battle damage assessment they issued seemed to be exaggerated. More than likely the Russian attacks did not produce the results that they claimed it produced."

Warren said the U.S. estimates that Russia destroyed only around 100 tankers.
 

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