Official: ISIS' money running short because of U.S. bombing campaign

Russia may be wavering in support of Assad 02:10

IRAQ -- In Iraq today, CBS News was told ISIS is running short of money because of the U.S. bombing campaign.

CBS News got a rare interview with President Obama's special envoy in the region, who also said Russia may be tired of propping up the Syrian dictator.

Russia orders troop withdrawal in Syria 04:32

For the past six years, Russia's government -- and its military -- have shown unwavering support for Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

But that may at last be changing, says the President's Special Envoy on Iraq and Syria Brett McGurk.

"I think there's an emerging international consensus -- and I'd include the Russians on that -- that without a very serious political transition this conflict's going to grind on and that's in nobody's interest," said McGurk.

Consensus on shutting Assad out of Syria's political future would be a breakthrough -- and give fresh energy to the peace talks currently under way in Geneva.

While on the battlefield, where an international coalition has joined forces against ISIS, there's already been steady progress.

A new report shows that over the past 15 months, ISIS has lost more than a fifth of the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria.

President's Special Envoy on Iraq and Syria Brett McGurk. CBS News

And, McGurk said, strains are showing in other ways.

"They're now cutting salaries for their fighters by almost half," said McGurk. "When they store money, in Mosul for example, we find out where that is and we target those sites."

"So they can't pay their fighters, they can't communicate with their fighters, they can't move around the battlefield like they could before, and they can't hold territory," McGurk added.

ISIS is still holding on to a huge amount of land including two major cities, but if the current momentum holds, it's just possible ISIS territory will continue to shrink as the prospect of a peace deal in Geneva slowly gathers steam.

  • Elizabeth Palmer
    Elizabeth Palmer

    Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the "CBS Evening News."