Advanced US Weapons For Syrian Rebels Wound Up In ISIS Control

Islamic State soldiers holding guns

Conflict Armament Research, a British-based organization, said Thursday some USA -furnished weapons meant for Syrian rebels ended up with the Islamic State terror group. These weapons remain a threat to the USA -led forces still fighting against the terror group in Iraq and Syria, as efforts by the US and other countries to supply arms to the rebels "have significantly augmented the quantity and quality of weapons available to (Islamic State) forces".

Conflict Armament Research, a British-based organization, examined 40,000 weapons and other items recovered from the Islamic State from July 2014 to last month - time which the US -led coalition removed militants from Iraq and Syria.

It concludes that global weapon supplies intended for rebel factions in the Syrian conflict ended up with Isil, "significantly augmenting the quantity and quality of weapons in its arsenal".

Almost a third of all weapons used by Isil on the battlefield were manufactured in the European Union, according to the most thorough investigation yet into how the jihadist group acquired its vast arsenal. Initiated by former President Barack Obama's administration, the covert arms shipments were meant to boost the moderate Free Syrian Army without directly involving USA forces in the campaign to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"These findings support widespread assumptions that the group initially captured much of its military materiel from Iraqi and Syrian government forces", the report said.

The Weapons of the Islamic State report was based on a three-year field investigation in Iraq and Syria into the group's arms and their origins.

Weapons supplied by the United States and Saudi Arabia to opposition fighters often fell into the hands of ISIL, significantly enhancing the "quantity and quality" of the group's armaments, a new report alleges.

Most of the weapons provided to anti-Assad rebels in Syria were purchased by the USA or Saudi Arabia from arms manufacturers in Eastern Europe, according to the auto report.

At the same time, the report also found instances where weapons deployed by ISIS were found to have been diverted from stockpiles in other conflict regions such as Libya and moved on to Iraq and Syria.

Separately, the Pentagon said two Russian Su-25 fighters flew through an unofficial line separating Russian and American air forces in eastern Syria along the Euphrates River on Wednesday.

"China produced the majority of the materiel (weapons and ammunition combined) fielded by the group in both countries", said the report.



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