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Pentagon Admits Airdropped Weapons Taken by ISIS

Smoke and flames from an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition rise in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, on Monday. (AP photo)
Smoke and flames from an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition rise in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, on Monday. (AP photo)

The Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that an airdropped pallet of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies intended for the besieged Kurds of Kobani missed the drop zone and was taken by ISIS.

The admission followed the posting of a video Tuesday to a YouTube account affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that purported to show a masked militant inspecting crates of grenades and other weaponry, and walking past a large bundle that appeared to have come from an airdrop.

"One bundle worth of equipment is not enough equipment to give the enemy any type of advantage at all," said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. "It's a relatively small amount of supplies. This is stuff ISIL already has," Warren said, using another acronym for ISIS.

Warren said that the U.S. had an inventory of what was in the missing pallet, but he declined to disclose the list.

The pallet came from an airdrop of 28 pallets, or bundles, by Air Force C-130s on Sunday to the Kurdish defenders of the northern Syrian town of Kobani, which ISIS forces have been trying to take for nearly a month.

U.S. Central Command later issued a statement saying that one of the pallets went astray and had been destroyed by an airstrike to keep ISIS fighters from taking it. A second pallet was later found to have missed the drop zone and was grabbed by ISIS, Warren said.

The weapons and supplies in the pallets were provided by the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq, despite warnings against the move by Turkey.

At a news conference Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the airdrops were a mistake, the Voice of America reported.  

"What was done here on this subject turned out to be wrong," Erdogan said.  "Some of the weapons they dropped from those C130s were seized" by ISIS.

Turkey earlier this week said that it would drop its long-standing opposition to Kurdish peshmerga forces crossing from Turkey to reinforce the Kobani defenders.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@military.com

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Richard Sisk Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

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