by Sophie Mangal
British organization Conflict Armament Research (CAR) has examined the ways arms have been supplied to the areas of military conflict around the world and has published a new investigation on Syria (link: http://www.conflictarm.com/publications/).
CAR experts have found that weapons supplied by Western countries not only get into the hands of the Syrian opposition fighters but also into the hands of IS terrorists.
It is noteworthy that at the beginning of the Syrian conflict IS militants used mainly weapons captured during the fighting with the Syrian and Iraqi government troops. But after 2012 the terrorists gained new sources such as illegal supplies of weapons from the Western countries, buy and capture arms shipments destined to the Syrian opposition, as well as its own domestic arms industry.
According to CAR’s James Bevan, the first evidence of illegal weapons turnover showed up as his staff found a box of ammunition with serial numbers not far from Mosul.
It turned out that the ammunition had been manufactured in the factories of Eastern Europe, but it was legally acquired by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States after some time. These countries were delivering weapons to the opposition groups in Syria through Turkey.
Moreover different batches of ammunition were found in the Iraqi cities of Tikrit, Ramadi, Fallujah and Mosul. Daesh militants used such ammunition against government troops. CAR has documented more than 300 samples which were manufactured in the United States since the 2000s. The terrorists very often got the ammo in just two months after it was shipped from the factory to the original customer.
In addition, Daesh militants managed to mass-produce their own weapons in the territories under their control, purchasing raw materials for their production. It is still unclear how industrial chemicals’ bags which are sold in Turkey exclusively for the domestic market fell into the hands of Islamic State in Syria. It is worth noting that the militants continue to buy raw materials wholesale. The terrorist supply chain involves serious contacts of large suppliers in Turkey.
IS also uses mortars made at makeshift factories. BBC News security correspondent Gordon Corera has confirmed frequent findings of hand-made weapons and improvised explosive devices and MRLS.
It looks like Western countries are very interested in the escalation of the situation in Syria and Iraq and deliberately organize weapons and ammunition supply both to armed Syrian opposition and to the terrorists. Even clear evidence of the involvement of the Western industrial-military complex in arming the terrorists in Iraq and Syria will probably not help to change the situation for the better, however. The gun lobby in the US and the fabulous profits of the military-industrial complex will always be the most important obstacle to peace.