IS fighters ‘using US arms in Syria’
LONDON : Islamic State (IS) jihadis appear to be using captured US military issue arms and weapons supplied to moderate rebels in Syria, according to a report published Monday.
The study by the London-based small-arms research organization Conflict Armament Research documented weapons seized by Kurdish forces from militants in Iraq and Syria over a 10-day period in July.
The report said the jihadis disposed of “significant quantities” of US-made small arms including M-16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings “Property of US Govt.”
It also found that anti-tank rockets used by IS in Syria were “identical to M79 rockets transferred to forces operating under the (rebel) Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013.”
The rockets were made in the then Yugoslavia in the 1980s.
In neighbouring Iraq, IS jihadists seized significant quantities of US equipment from the Iraqi army when soldiers abandoned positions in northern areas when faced with a militant offensive in June.
The group captured a number of American-made Humvee armoured vehicles, which are now being targeted in US air strikes, and has reportedly used them in suicide bombings against Iraqi forces on at least two occasions.
Meanwhile, Islamic State fighters attacked a riverside town north of Baghdad on Monday with gunboats and a car bomb, killing 17 people and wounding 54, a security source said. The source said the attack on Dhuluiya, around 70 km from the capital, was carried out before dawn and continued for two hours before the militants were pushed back.
Separately, the Human Rights Watch on Monday accused warring militias in Libya of committing violations that amount to war crimes during a battle the past month for control over the capital’s airport.
The five weeks of fighting over Tripoli’s airport, along with a parallel battle between militias in Libya’s second largest city Benghazi, drove some 100,000 Libyans from their homes and prompted 150,000 foreigners to flee the country.