Islamic State Obtains Arms Sent to Forces Fighting It, Report Claims

Security forces that U.S. and other states support are unable to keep secure custody of weapons, research firm tells N.Y. Times.

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An image grab taken from a video released by Islamic State group's official Al-Raqqa site via YouTube on Sept. 23, 2014, allegedly shows Islamic State (IS) group recruits riding in armed trucks.Credit: AFP

Islamic State has obtained and is using substantial weaponry that originated in the U.S. and other states and was designated for regional forces that are fighting the Islamist group, a media report says.

Ammunition that the U.S. sent to help stabilize Syria and Iraq has instead ended up with Islamic State, enabling and strengthening the group, which is trying to establish a caliphate in those two countries, The New York Times reported.

The defense and security forces in the nations that the U.S. is trying to help are unable to maintain secure custody of the weapons delivered to them, James Bevan, director of Conflict Armament Research, told the Times. CAR is gathering and analyzing weapons that Islamic State is using, the Times reported.

Providing weapons to the regional groups that are fighting Islamic State is a risk, Bevan said. And the risk is increased when the forces that are to use them are poorly motivated and are facing serious challenges, he told the paper.

The Times reported that Islamic State obtains its weapons from a number of sources, receiving them from other anti-government people who have joined its ranks, buying them from Syrian rebels who got them from foreign donors, capturing them on the battlefield and making deals with corrupt members of the security forces in Syria and Iraq.