U.S. oil and gas companies are funding the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) through a new pipeline that would pump millions of dollars worth of crude oil into the country, a new report reveals.
The revelation was first reported by the Washington Post, which also reports that the oil would be shipped via Turkey.
The State Department, which is the lead U.N. agency for foreign aid, is also considering the pipeline as a potential route for humanitarian aid, Reuters reports.
“There are a lot of other ways that you could do this,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told Reuters.
“We’re going to look at all options.”
“We will work with our international partners and partner nations, including Turkey, to explore all of those avenues, and we’ll continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to find the best solution to support and empower those who are in need of our help,” she added.
“The State Department remains committed to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrian people in need and to supporting those in need, both on the ground and in the community.”
ISIS controls large swaths of Syria and Iraq, where tens of thousands of people have been killed, maimed and displaced since it launched a blitz in early 2014.
The group has seized large swathes of land, including Mosul in Iraq, and seized vast swathes the Kurdish-controlled region of Kobane, also in northern Syria.
The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that ISIS is using the pipeline to smuggle oil and fuel to fuel its attacks on Kurdish-majority areas of the country.
The New York Times reports that ISIS has also used the pipeline in the past to smuggles in weapons.
It also notes that the pipeline would be a new source of funding for ISIS, since it would be more efficient than shipping fuel to Turkey, where ISIS has established its base.
In April, a coalition of oil companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell signed an agreement to finance ISIS in Syria and other areas of Iraq.
The coalition, which includes the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Qatar and the United Kingdom, pledged $7 billion for the project, the New York Post reports.
ExxonMobil and Chevron have been among the most vocal proponents of the pipeline, while Shell, Concoge and BP have all said they support the project.
Exxon and Shell have both previously said they would be willing to contribute $3 billion for a pipeline in Syria if Turkey agreed to pay for it.
The pipeline would also allow ISIS to sell its oil on the international market, which it currently cannot do due to sanctions imposed by the U.A.E. and Russia, the Times reports.