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Pentagon: One of Kobani Bundles 'Probably' in IS Hands


Turkish Kurds sit around a fire to warm themselves as they watch the Syrian town of Kobani from a hill near the Mursitpinar border crossing, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Turkey, Oct. 22, 2014.

Turkish Kurds sit around a fire to warm themselves as they watch the Syrian town of Kobani from a hill near the Mursitpinar border crossing, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc, Turkey, Oct. 22, 2014.

The Pentagon is confirming that Islamic State militants seized one of the 28 bundles of weapons and medical supplies dropped to Kurdish forces on Monday. The news comes as forces battling Islamic State in Iraq repelled an offensive by the militants.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said two of the 28 bundles dropped by the United States for Kurds fighting Islamic State militants did not make it to the allies.

"Yesterday we announced that one resupply bundle went astray and was destroyed. We've since re-looked that and we have determined that a second bundle also went astray and probably fell into enemy hands," he said.

Pentagon officials say that vehicle movement is far more dangerous, requiring vehicles to drive through potentially enemy territory, so they determined the air drop was best method to accomplish this mission at this time.

Pentagon Spokesman Rear Adm John Kirby said Tuesday, "It's a very safe, effective and efficient way to deliver supplies, and I don't think anybody in the Pentagon is going to apologize for conducting the mission the way it was done."

Kobani, Syria

Kobani, Syria

Kurdish optimism

The bundles included small weapons, hand grenades, medical supplies and ammunition. Warren said the wind appeared to have caused the bundles, that were dropped on parachutes, to go off course, adding that the loss was not a "real concern" to the Pentagon.

"There's going to be some margin of error in these types of operations. As a matter of fact, we routinely overload these aircraft because we know that some bundles may go astray," said Warren.

A video released Tuesday by a media group loyal to IS showed extremists with the pallet of weapons and other materials. Warren said the weapons in the bundle are not enough to give the enemy any type of advantage, but added the 26 bundles taken together by friendly forces would significantly help their cause.

Idriss Nassan, a spokesman for Kurds fighting IS in Kobani, echoed Warren's optimism to VOA.

"We told the international community and coalition from the beginning of these attacks that we need your help of weaponry and munitions. With this help we will be able to defeat ISIS on the ground," said Nassan.

Relentless fight

U.S. Central Command said U.S. aircraft conducted six strikes near the border town over the past 24 hours. Kurdish forces, backed by coalition air power, have prevented IS from controlling Kobani for weeks.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, a dozen U.S.-led air strikes helped fend off an IS assault on the strategic Mosul Dam.

"There was an offensive action by the enemy in the vicinity of Mosul Dam, a combination of U.S. air strikes and Iraqi forces were able to repel that," said Warren.

U.S. Central Command said the strikes hit several Islamic State targets. The large dam is a crucial piece of infrastructure that IS has repeatedly attacked.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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