Syrian and Iraqi terrorist forces obtained significant numbers of tanks, trucks, and U.S.-origin Humvees in recent military operations in Iraq and those arms are being shipped to al Qaeda rebels in Syria, according to U.S. officials.
U.S. intelligence agencies reported this week that photos of the equipment transfers were posted online by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, the ultra-violent terror group that broke away from al Qaeda but shares its goals and philosophy.
Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Speaks confirmed the weapons transfers and expressed concerns about the captured arms.
“We’re aware of reports of some equipment—namely Humvees—and the pictures that have been posted online,” Speaks said in an email. “We are certainly concerned about these reports and are consulting with the Iraqi government to obtain solid confirmation on what assets may have fallen into ISIL’s hands.”
A defense official warned that ISIL claims that they have captured advanced weaponry, such as Blackhawk helicopters, are suspect.
“We do know that they made false claims last week, particularly with Blackhawk helicopters, which have never been sold to Iraq,” the official said.
The seized weapons are said to include Russian-made T-55 tanks and one report said U.S. M-1 Abrams tanks were taken. Numerous Humvees were shown on flatbed trucks being transported from the Nineveh province, in northwestern Iraq, to ISIL-controlled areas of Syria, including the Al Shadadi area and the town of Tall Hamis.
One online posting by ISIL fighters showed a captured Iraqi T-55 tank reportedly in Deir ez-Zor, Syria.
Other online photos of captured Iraqi military equipment showed towed artillery, trucks, and troop transports being transferred to Syria from Iraq.
The weaponry is expected to provide ISIL with a major advantage over other rebel groups in Syria in their civil war with the forces of the Bashar al Assad regime in Damascus, as well as against other rival rebel groups, including the official al Qaeda affiliate, Al Nusra Front.
Full article: ISIL Moving Seized U.S. Tanks, Humvees to Syria (Washington Free Beacon)