Home inContext Islamic State Intercepts U.S. Airdrop

Islamic State Intercepts U.S. Airdrop

Michael Johnson

A new video released earlier this week by Islamic State (IS) militants reportedly shows the group’s fighters raiding a U.S. military airdrop meant for the Kurdish militiamen in the Syrian border town of Kobane. The airdrop comes as the U.S. continues its attacks on IS targets in the area and increases aid to Peshmerga fighters.

In the video, uploaded to YouTube, masked men can be seen unloading a pallet of boxes and crates next to a large parachute lying on the ground. An IS militant then opens a couple of the crates that are filled with grenades.

A Turkish tank on a hill overlooking Kobane, Syria. (Photo: AP)

A statement released by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said one airstrike was launched to destroy the stray bundle and prevent “these supplies from falling into enemy hands.” At a subsequent Pentagon press briefing, U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby addressed the concerns over the video saying that the 27 of the 28 airdropped aid packages, which included medical supplies, weapons and ammunition, were received Kurdish fighters. He added that the Department of Defense would investigate the incident.

Meanwhile, the conflict between IS militants and the Kurdish Peshmerga continued to escalate in the area. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 30 IS and 11 Kurdish fighters died in Kobane on Tuesday, with the Islamist group bringing in outside reinforcements to assist in the battle

Situated on the border with Turkey, IS forces have besieged the nearly half of Kobane for weeks with well organized infantry raids and artillery fire. Even with U.S. military and humanitarian aid to local allies, the advance of Islamists shows the limit of American airpower in combating IS. While Turkey declined to use its ground forces to aid Kobane, international pressure has forced Turkey to permit Iraqi Kurds to pass through its territory on their way to Kobane. Turkish Kurds will not be permitted to cross.