A report on the weapons used by the Islamic State claims that ammunition procured by Swiss firm Tradewell AG from Serbia for Iraqi forces was appropriated by the terror group and used in Syria.
The European Union funded report released on December 19 was a result of a three-year investigation by the NGO Conflict Armament Research. Entitled Weapons of the Islamic Stateexternal link, the publication analysed more than 40,000 items recovered from Islamic State between 2014 and 2017. In 2015, researchers found 19 boxes of 7.62 x 54R mm ball ammunition in the Syrian city of Kobane that they were able to trace back to the Swiss firm Tradewell AG. According to the SonntagsZeitung paper, the company did not have required approval from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs which has filed a complaint against Tradewell AG to the Attorney General.
The ammunition was part of a 2004 legal shipment of five million rounds from Serbia to the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) as “part of the efforts of the international community to equip and strengthen the capacity of the central government of Iraq to deal with security challenges on its entire territory”. Tradewell AG, along with the American firm Laudes Corporation, were given permission to procure and deliver the materiel for and on behalf of the MNSTC-I for use by Iraqi security forces.
Islamic State was able to get its hands on this ammunition during its battles with the Iraqi armed forces in Mosul in 2014. According to the report, the terror group immediately commandeered weapons and ammunition captured in Mosul and used them during their siege of the Syrian city of Kobane. It is estimated that at least 12% of all weapons and ammunition recovered from Islamic State came from Iraqi stockpiles.