Several weeks ago when we reported on the latest territorial losses by ISIS and the curious disappearance of the "war against ISIS" from the media's front pages, we said that this was the expected outcome of the recent Russian airborne military operations over northern Syria which had destroyed much of the Islamic State's oil infrastructure and, more importantly, had cutoff key ISIS oil transit lines to Turkey.
This dramatically reduced ISIS' inbound cash from oil sales, which had previously been estimated to amount to over a billion dollars annually.
But we certainly had no idea just how bad ISIS' funding situation had become.
According to the Times of India, it has gotten so bad for the cash-strapped Islamic State terror group that ISIS has resorted to killing its injured fighters so that their organs can be extracted and sold on the black market abroad.
"Doctors were threatened to take out the body organs of a wounded ISIL militant," the Arabic-language al-Sabah newspaper reported citing a source in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
The report was confirmed by the Iranian FARS news agency which said that "the terrorists are suffering a budget shortage after their recent loss of territory in the southern part of Mosul and for the same reason it is reportedly killing its own militants who have been injured in southern Mosul to take out their body organs such as hearts and kidneys to sell them in the black market."
It also cited Spanish daily El Mondo as saying that faced with an increased number of wounded members in the Syrian army and popular forces' attacks, ISIS is using the body organs of its captives for transplantation.
It gets even more morbid, because while previously ISIS had no problem demonstratively executing its prisoners for shock YouTube clip value, it is now keeping them alive as long as possible to salvage critical "components" such as blood: according to the daily, the ISIS also forces the prisoners in Mosul jails to donate blood and in pulling a page right out of the latest Mad Max script, is postponing the execution of those sentenced to death to use their blood as much as possible.
Medical sources were quoted as saying that the personnel in one of hospitals in Mosul have seen corpses of at least 183 people whose organs had been taken out of their bodies.
The TOI adds that the Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations Mohamed Alhakim had made the similar accusations last year, saying that the ISIS is trafficking human organs and has executed a dozen doctors for failing to go along with the programme. Alhakim based his claim on the discovery of dozens of bodies left in shallow mass graves near the city of Mosul, currently an ISIS stronghold.
The morbid report comes just days after AFP reported that the Islamic State revenues have dropped by around 30 percent since last year, forcing the group to introduce a range of new taxes including a levy on repairing satellite dishes, a research group said on Monday.
"In mid-2015, the Islamic State's overall monthly revenue was around $80 million" said Ludovico Carlino, senior analyst at IHS, which issues regular reports on IS-controlled territory. Carlino added that "as of March 2016, the Islamic State's monthly revenue dropped to $56 million."
And while a big reason for the plunge in revenue is that according to IHS the IS group had lost about 22 percent of its territory in the past 15 months and now ruled over six million instead of nine million people, the primary reason was the abovementioned one: the collapse in oil revenue.
An IHS report also said oil production in areas controlled by IS jihadists had gone down to 21,000 barrels per day from 33,000 barrels per day before.
This was due largely to air strikes by the US-led coalition and Russia, although IHS warned the decline was only an "interruption of production" as jihadists were able to repair infrastructure quickly.
At this point one can't help but be amused at the ironic parallels between the fate of the Islamic State: whereas owners of oil and gas exploration companies are negotiating to avoid losing an "arm and a leg" or perhaps a "pound of flesh" to creditors, if only metaphorically, for ISIS fighters the threats are all too real.
And speaking of ISIS fighters, while they all knew they were prepared to give their lives for the "cause" we doubt even they envisioned an end quite like this.