Fears that western anti-IS arms falling into wrong hands

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Turkish FM wary of arms aid to Iraq falling into PKK hands while study finds American-made small arms in possession of IS militants

Turkey's new foreign minister and former EU Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on 14 April, 2014 (AFP)
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Thursday 12 February 2015 23:15 UTC
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Turkey's new foreign minister said Monday that the PKK Kurdish group should not receive international weapons meant for use against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

In remarks to Anadolu Agency, Turkey's top diplomat stressed that the international weapons aid being provided to Kurdish peshmerga forces to boost them in their fight against IS militants should not end up in the hands of outlawed PKK group.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said all factions in Iraq should have access to the country's natural resources, as required by the constitution.

All eyes will be once again on Turkey after US President Obama announced at the recent NATO Summit a "core coalition" plan to fight against IS. 

The 10 nations are the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark.

Answering a question about "western fighters" in the Middle East, Cavusoglu said Turkey has been taking measures to prevent such people from crossing into conflict zones via Turkey.

"More than 6,000 foreigners considered potential terrorists banned from entering Turkey," he said.

IS fighters reportedly using captured US arms

IS fighters appear to be using captured US military issue arms and weapons, according to a report published on Monday.

The study by the London-based small-arms research organisation Conflict Armament Research documented weapons seized by Kurdish forces from militants in Iraq and Syria over a 10-day period in July.

The report said the militants disposed of "significant quantities" of US-made small arms including M16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings "Property of US Govt".

It also found that anti-tank rockets used by IS in Syria were "identical to M79 rockets transferred by Saudi Arabia to forces operating under the Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013".

The rockets were made in the then Yugoslavia in the 1980s.

IS is believed to have seized large quantities of weapons from Syrian military installations it has captured, as well as arms supplied by the United States to the Iraqi army after it swept through northern Iraq in recent weeks.