The 50 tons of U.S.-supplied ammunition air-dropped to Syria's moderate opposition by the Pentagon Tuesday morning will end up in the hands of the Islamic State group, claimed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a TV interview with NTV, a Russian news channel. A change of policy in the White House toward Syrian Rebels, who are opposed to Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime, has seen the Pentagon pivot from training rebel groups to arming them.
Lavrov's claims, while appearing to be part of the recent volley of propaganda launched between Moscow and Washington, D.C. over actions in Syria, do have some merit. U.S. weapons supplied to the Iraqi Army to help it fight against ISIS ended up in the hands of the terror group after it overran Iraqi military bases in the north of the country over the last 12 months, reported Business Insider earlier this year. Likewise, weapons supplied to the Afghan military ended up in the hands of the Taliban, according to an NBC news report.
"Frankly speaking, we have next to no doubts that at least the bulk of these weapons fall into the hands of terrorists," Lavrov said in the TV interview, according to Tass, a Russian news site. "This fact causes concern in the United States as well, where people, the Congress begin to ask questions about previous attempts to support ‘moderate opposition.’"
Since early September, Russia has been supplying Assad’s military with reinforcements so it can regain control over regions lost to ISIS and rebel groups. To clear the way for those units, Kremlin jets have been conducting bombing raids for nearly two weeks against all opposition to the current government in Damascus, even if those groups are U.S.-supported.
"No one has provided coordinates of the ‘moderate opposition’ to us. They used to tell about the Free Syrian Army, but it is still a ghostly organization," said Lavrov, who referred to U.S. frustrations that Russia was targeting groups it supported. "Now they are saying about the Democratic Forces of Syria alliance. We have taken a closer look at it to see that it has groups that previously collaborated with terrorists."