The Pentagon’s inspector general has found that US commanders could not properly account for $715.8 million in weapons destined for the “Vetted Syrian Opposition” in fiscal years 2017 and 2018.
According to the February 13 report, leadership at Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (SOJTF-OIR) – which is part of Combined Joint Task Force-OIR (CJTF-OIR), the US military’s mission in Syria – failed to properly account for nearly $716 million in weapons procured for distribution to US-backed rebels fighting against the Syrian government. In addition to not maintaining comprehensive lists of all equipment purchased and received, the weapons were stored improperly, allowing them to rust and leaving them vulnerable to theft.
The report notes that personnel with 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) “did not properly store or secure CTEF-S [Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund] equipment at the BPC [Building Partners Capacity] Kuwait warehouse in accordance with DoD guidance, Army regulations, or SOJTF-OIR standard operating procedures. For example, 1st TSC personnel stored weapons outside in metal shipping containers, exposing the equipment to harsh environmental elements, such as heat and humidity.”
“This occurred because SOJTF-OIR personnel did not divest or dispose of CTEF-S equipment, which led to overcrowding at the BPC Kuwait warehouse,” the Department of Defense Inspector General wrote on Monday, when the…