- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sunni militants in Iraq are shipping a significant number of U.S.-origin tanks and Humvees, seized in recent U.S. military operations in Iraq, to al Qaeda rebels in Syria, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon.

According to U.S. intelligence agencies, photos of the equipment transfers were posted online by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an offshoot from al Qaeda that seeks to establish a caliphate in Sunni majority regions of Iraq.

Numerous Humvees were shown 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, the Free Beacon reported.

“We’re aware of reports of some equipment — namely Humvees — and the pictures that have been posted online,” Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Speaks told the Free Beacon 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.”

Mr. Speaks said, however, that the loss of the equipment is “really a matter for the Iraqi government to speak to publicly,” because “it is their equipment.”

ISIL claimed that it had captured advanced weaponry, such as Blackhawk helicopters, but a U.S. defense official, who was not named in the report, said that’s not true.

“We do know that they made false claims last week, particularly with Blackhawk helicopters, which have never been sold to Iraq,” the official said.

Exact figures on the seized military equipment were not clear. “ISIL raided all the arms depots and vehicles belonging to Iraq’s Second Division, based in Mosul, which included a motorized brigade and several infantry brigades,” the Free Beacon reported.

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