Photos Reveal Iraq Oil Fires Burning Behind ISIS Retreat
August 23, 2017

Satellite images show evidence of the Islamic State’s scorched earth tactics as militants lose territory to Western-backed Iraqi forces.

Five oil fires (photographed below in 2015 and 2017) have been blazing since August 2015 to the east of Baiji oil refinery. Several more in the Qayyarah oil field, south of Mosul, burned for eight months before firefighters extinguished them in March.

The scene recalls the first Gulf War in 1991, when more than 600 oil wells in Kuwait were set alight. Subsequent analysis estimated that conflagration released 133 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air. That is more than a year’s worth of CO2 emissions for a medium-sized country such as the Philippines, Belgium or Nigeria.

Meanwhile sulphur dioxide emissions from Al-Mishraq sulphur mine, torched last October, were bigger than those from any volcanic eruption in 2016, according to NASA.

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