Some weapons bound for Syrian rebels end up with ISIS

SIMON: Are these armaments that some Western country gives to either some government in the area, some army or even some non-state actor, as they’re called, and they wind up getting left behind, or they wind up getting robbed, or what happens?

SPLEETERS: There’s a lot of options here. So, for example, a state-to-state trade in which a government will sell weapons and ammunition to, for example, Syria, and then the material would be captured by ISIS. Another option, as you mentioned, is that a country in the region would supply material to another group fighting the Syrian regime, and then that material would then end up in the hand of ISIS. Or, for example, the material provided by the U.S. to Iraqi security forces that would then be captured by ISIS and used in Iraq or brought back to Syria.

SIMON: To put the fine point on it, some people might be thinking if the U.S. increases armaments to what it believes to be moderate Syrian rebel groups, based on your experience and observation, they may not remain in the hands of those groups?

SPLEETERS: Weapons and ammunition that are on the battlefield are very fluid. And depending on the material, it’s almost impossible to make sure that the end-user remains in control of the weapons and ammunition you have been providing.