Amnesty says irresponsible weapon transfers fueled DAESH

Amnesty International says most of DAESH's weapons were seized from Iraqi army

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A parade of DAESH militants

The internationally produced weapons and reckless arms trading in Iraq contributed to DAESH gaining power in Syria and Iraq, rights group Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

The group’s report examining DAESH’s weapons, ammunitions and equipment based this finding on expert analysis of thousands of verified videos and images.

Amnesty International’s campaigner for arms control security and human rights Rasha Abdul Rahim told TRT World that the rights organisation spoke to sources on the ground such as military personels and aid workers and that they paired those findings with their researh on arms transfers to Iraq and Syria.

According to the Amnesty experts, the DAESH weapons were produced in at least 25 countries including Russia, China and the US.

Decades of “poor regulation and lack of oversight” led DAESH to seize arms of Iraqi army’s military stocks, Amnesty said.

DAESH seized Iraq’s second largest city Mosul in 2014 and looted weapons and military vehicles left behind by Iraqi troops.

Amnesty’s researcher Patrick Wilcken said the vast and varied weaponry being used by DAESH was a “textbook case” of reckless arms trading that fuels atrocities on a massive scale.

The examination on the chains of custody of weapons also showed that DAESH’s weapons and equipment could be “illicitly traded from poorly secured Iraqi stocks,” the report suggested adding regarding DAESH.

“More than 30 countries – including all permanent members of the UN Security Council – have supplied the Iraqi army with military equipment over the past decade” the report said and added that they have ended up in the hands of insurgent groups including DAESH.

DAESH fighters are now equipped with large stocks of AK variant rifles and types of Chinese, German, Belgian, Austrian, Russian and Iraqi, former Soviet, Iranian and American machine guns, rifles, anti-tank missiles and artillery systems. The militant group also owns more sophisticated equipment including guided anti-tank missiles and surface-to-air missiles.

“We discovered that majority of the arms had been sourced from over 25 countries, majority of which were from Soviet era. Weapons and eastern block weapons which were gained as result of massive arms proliferation into the region for decades.” Abdul Rahim told TRT World. 

DAESH has used “these weapons to commit serious human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law across Iraq and Syria including abductions, summary killings and torture,” 43-pages of a report concerning the matter has said.

“Their military campaign has relentlessly targeted civilians with small arms, artillery fire and huge quantities of improvised explosive devices.”

Amnesty International called on all the states to apply strict and complete sanctions on the Syrian regime forces as well as opposition groups that have committed human rights abuses.

“The consequences of reckless arms transfers to Iraq and Syria and their subsequent capture by IS [DAESH] must be a wake-up call to arms exporters around the world,” said Wilcken.

TRTWorld and agencies