Isis terrorists operating in Iraq and Syria may be using weapons exported to the Middle East by the UK, according to a new report.
Assault weapons and small arms sent from Britain to Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion may have ended up in the hands of the militant Islamic group, the research carried out by human rights organisation Amnesty International says.
Drawing on expert analysis of thousands of videos and images, the report concludes that IS fighters have access to a “substantial arsenal” of arms and ammunition designed or manufactured in more than 25 countries. Their weapons include US military issue M16 rifles, Austrian and Russian sniper rifles and Chinese and Belgian machine guns, it says.
Many of the weapons acquired by IS are likely to have been given to Iraqi security forces by various western countries between 2003 and 2007, the report claims, before falling into the terrorists’ hands after they captured Iraqi military compounds.
Highlighting the UK’s role in the supply of guns, it says that “a variety of small arms and light weapons” were exported from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia to the UK in 2005 and 2006, before being “re-exported” to Iraq. Some 20,000 Chinese assault weapons were also shipped to Iraq from the UK in early 2007, and many of the guns later “went astray”.
Source: The Independent