ISIS Awash With American Firepower: Terrorists Are Taking U.S. Weapons To Arm Insurgents

ISIS Awash With American Firepower: Terrorists Are Taking U.S. Weapons To Arm Insurgents

ISIS in Iraq and Syria just got their hands on more U.S. weapons

Are we sure ISIS is losing the fight? The recent Istanbul bombing seems to prove the opposite; and the fact that the terrorist group keeps getting its hands on U.S. weapons certainly does not help the matter. According to a Foreign Policy report, ISIS fought off a U.S.-backed assault on Wednesday in a critical border crossing between Syria and Iraq. This victory was not only a point in favour of the Islamist group, but in addition allowed ISIS

“to get their hands on crates of American ammunition, U.S. mortars, a Toyota Hilux pickup adapted to carry a heavy machine gun, and new body armor.”

In a two-minute video released by ISIS, Foreign Policy declared that machine guns and M-16 rifles can also be seen, together with at least 2,000 rounds of ammunition which according to N.R. Jenzen-Jones, director of specialist technical intelligence consultancy Armament Research Services (ARES), certainly came from U.S. manufacturers. Together with this, equipment in the form of a large moving box made by the Connecticut-based packaging company, Unicorr, can also be seen; but the company refused to give any comments. Allegedly, the video closes with gruesome images of an ISIS fighter sawing the head of a fighter from the New Syrian Army, and then placing the body on a public fountain. 

This is not the first time that U.S. weapons fall in the hands of ISIS. In October 2014, Foreign Policy published information about a report from an independent arms monitoring group, released by Conflict Armament Research, which collected evidence on the terrorist group using weapons and ammunition coming from countries like China, Russia, and the U.S. The report also indicated that the Islamic State have had no problem since its beginning to get its hand into the armament going into Syria and Iraq. Although most of the arms were captured from the field, intelligence reports also states that ISIS income was enough to purchase directly from companies and dealers who profited from the wars in the Middle East.

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, said on Tuesday after Istanbul’s airport attack that the event was actually a sign of weakness

“If you’re desperate and if you know you are losing, and you know you want to give up your life, then obviously you can do some harm.”

And it is true that ISIS has been losing ground to the U.S.-backed coalition force. However, terrorist groups, and in this case the Islamic State, do not work with clearly defines borders, lines and maps. ISIS is known for hiding among the civilian population and other groups, and as long it has access to weapons, wether by taking this from other armies or financing these themselves, it is unlikely that the terrorist group will disappear. Not only the United States, but many other countries need to continue working on securing their arms if these are not intended to fall into enemies’ hands.



Featured image via John Moore/Getty Images News

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From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.