US 'drops weapons into hands of Islamic State'
Pentagon investigating whether weapons intended for Kurds accidentally ended up with Islamic State
The US is investigating claims that a cache of weapons dropped into Syria to help Kurdish fighters actually ended up in the hands of Islamic State militants.
On Monday the US announced that it had air-dropped 27 bundles of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to the Kurdish fighters defending the Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobane from IS.
It admitted that one bundle had gone astray, but said this had been destroyed with an air strike to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.
However, IS has released a new video in which militants boast about recovering weapons and supplies intended for Kurdish fighters. The footage appears to show a masked militant going through a crate filled with hand grenades.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that militants had seized one cache.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said he could not confirm if the video was authentic. "They are certainly of the kinds of material that was dropped... so it's not out of the realm of the possible in that regard," he said.
The Washington Post says the incident "highlights the difficulty in making sure all air drops are accurate, even with GPS-guided parachutes that the Air Force commonly uses".
The newspaper says the air drops were made partly because Turkey refused to allow Kurdish fighters to cross its borders into Kobane to bolster the town's defences. Turkish officials have since changed their minds but the deal is said to be "tentative".
After weeks of fighting, Kurdish forces control most of Kobane, but IS remains a threat, said Kirby. The militants had been kept at bay by efforts on the ground from Kurdish forces, as well as dozens of air strikes by the US-led coalition.
Yesterday, the US military announced a further four air strikes near Kobane, which they said hit IS fighting positions and a building occupied by the militants.