The ISIS weapons confiscated by the Iraqi security forces were of the US and Saudi Arabian origin which significantly enhanced the “quantity and quality” of the group’s armaments, a new report alleges.
According to the study by arms-monitoring group Conflict Armament Research (CAR) published on Thursday, the number of weapons goes “far beyond those that would have been available through battle capture alone”.
Are Saudi and US Providing Weapons to ISIS?
The findings were based on a three-year investigation in Iraq and Syria into the group’s arms and their origins. The study analyzed more than 40,000 items as confiscated by the Iraqi Security forces including weapons, ammunition, and materials used to make improvised explosive devices. Most of these were acquired by ISIL through shifting alliances within the Syrian opposition.
The research came to its findings that although some weapons were looted from the Iraqi and Syrian armies, most of them were originally supplied by other countries involved in the conflict to Syrian opposition groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad.
“Iraq and Syria have seen ISIS forces use large numbers of weapons, supplied by states such as Saudi Arabia and the United States, against the various international anti-IS coalitions that the two states support,” said CAR.
The US and Saudi broke contractual clauses prohibiting the retransfer of all of the items that were made in EU countries which allowed them to be passed onto different armed groups in Syria, according to the report.
“Evidence collected by CAR indicates that the United States has repeatedly diverted EU-manufactured weapons and ammunition to opposition forces in the Syrian conflict. ISIS forces rapidly gained custody of significant quantities of this material,” it said.
“These findings support widespread assumptions that the group initially captured much of its military material from Iraqi and Syrian government forces,” said the report.