Irresponsible weapons transfers to Iraq over decades enabled terror group "Islamic State" to carry out its atrocities, Amnesty International reports. The group is using arms and ammunition from at least 25 countries.
In a report released Tuesday, the London-based human rights watchdog said the huge amounts of internationally-manufactured weapons seized by the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" when it took over Iraq's second city of Mosul in mid-2014 were used to take over other areas and commit crimes against civilians.
"The vast and varied weaponry being used by the armed group calling itself Islamic State is a textbook case of how reckless arms trading fuels atrocities on a massive scale," Amnesty researcher Patrick Wilcken said in a statement. "Poor regulation and lack of oversight of the immense arms flows into Iraq going back decades have given IS and other armed groups a bonanza of unprecedented access to firepower."
IS had distributed weapons windfalls from several seizures of army and police bases across its multiple fronts, with some weapons seized in Mosul being used barely a fortnight later some 500 kilometers (310 miles) away in northern Syria, according to the report, which was based on expert analysis of video and still images.
The Islamic State’s fighters appear spoiled for choice when it comes to small arms. Its gunmen have been documented to carry not only the Iraqi-manufactured Tabuk, US-made Bushmaster M4 but also the Chinese CQ, German G36 and Belgian FAL among others. Amnesty said that, in total, "IS" was using arms and ammunition from at least 25 nations, and would be able to equip as many as 40,000 conventional troops.
The human rights group called on all states to adopt a "presumption of denial" rule when it came to sending weapons to Iraq, meaning stringent criteria would have to be in place. It also called countries to impost an embargo for sending weapons to Syrian government forces as well as armed opposition groups implicated in committing war crimes.
"The consequences of reckless arms transfers to Iraq and Syria and their subsequent capture by IS must be a wake-up call to arms exporters around the world," he said.
Report: Civilians killed in coalition Syria strikes
A group which monitors the war in Syria has reported that 26 civilians were killed in airstrikes suspected to have been carried out by the US-led coalition fighting the "IS."
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of contacts on the ground, reported the strikes on the "IS" controlled village of Al-Khan in the country's northeast left only civilians dead, according to news agency AFP.
The US-led coalition on Monday denied accusations its fighters had carried out air raids on a Syrian army camp on December 6, which was reported to have killed at least three Syrian troops.
The US-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria for the past year, while Russia began its own aerial campaign in coordination with the Syrian regime in September.
jar, se/msh (AFP, AP)