Islamic State fighters using US military issue arms: Study

Islamic State fighters using US military issue arms: Study
The study by the London-based small-arms research organisation 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 jihadists disposed of ‘significant quantities’ of US-made small arms including M16 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 by Saudi Arabia to forces operating under the Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013.’ The rockets were made in the then-Yugoslavia in the 1980s.

Islamic State is believed to have seized large quantities of weapons from Syrian military installations it has captured, as well as arms supplied by the United States to the Iraqi army after it swept through northern Iraq in recent weeks.

While on the other side, US officials are saying that destroying ISIS may take years. The Obama administration is preparing to carry out a campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria that may take three years to complete, requiring a sustained effort that could last until after President Obama has left office, according to senior administration officials.

The first phase, an air campaign with nearly 145 air strikes in the past month, is already underway to protect ethnic and religious minorities and American diplomatic, intelligence and military personnel, and their facilities, as well as to begin rolling back ISIS gains in northern and western Iraq
The next phase, which would begin sometime after Iraq forms a more inclusive government, scheduled this week, is expected to involve an intensified effort to train, advise or equip the Iraqi
military, Kurdish fighters and possibly members of Sunni tribes.

The final, toughest and most politically controversial phase of the operation destroying the terrorist army in its sanctuary inside Syria  might not be completed until the next administration. Indeed, some Pentagon planners envision a military campaign lasting at least 36 months.

Obama will use a speech to the nation on Wednesday to make his case for launching a US-led offensive against Sunni militants gaining ground in the Middle East, seeking to rally support for a broad military mission while reassuring the public that he is not plunging American forces into another Iraq war.

‘What I want people to understand,’ Obama said in an interview that was broadcast Sunday, ‘is that over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum’ of the militants. ‘We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities,’ he added.


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