BEIRUT: A US military airdrop of weapons meant for Kurdish fighters fell into the hands of their jihadist foes near the Syrian battleground town of Kobane, a monitor said on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
The American military could not confirm the account but said it was examining a video posted online that shows a masked gunman with what appears to be crates attached to a parachute.
US aircraft parachuted crates of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies on Sunday night to resupply Kurds defending the Syrian town of Kobane from the Islamic State group (IS) jihadists.
“One load was taken by IS and there are contradictory reports about a second” which was also reported to have gone astray, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Some sources said two consignments had landed in the hands of IS, but others said that warplanes from a US-led coalition destroyed one of them once the error was detected.
US Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East, said Monday that only one of 27 bundles had gone astray and that American warplanes bombed it to prevent the supplies being snatched by IS.
In a video posted on the Internet, titled “Arms and ammunition dropped by US planes in an IS-held area of Kobane,” a masked gunman shows off what appears to be one such bundle attached to a parachute.
“This is the American aid thrown to the infidels,” he said, opening wooden boxes filled with rockets and grenades, as aircraft could be heard circling overhead.
“Praise be to God, this is booty for the mujahedeen [Islamic warriors],” he added.
In Washington, Rear Admiral John Kirby could not confirm whether more than one bundle had drifted off course or if the bundle purportedly shown in the video was later bombed by American warplanes.
But he said analysts at Central Command and at the Pentagon were studying the video.
“We’re still taking a look at it and assessing the validity of it,” he told reporters.
“I do want to add, though, that we are very confident that the vast majority of the bundles did end up in the right hands,” Kirby said.
The US military was highly skilled at conducting air drops and the method was an effective way to ferry supplies to forces on the ground, he added.