The Department of Defense has budgeted $584 million specifically for this Syrian operation for the financial years 2017 and 2018, and has earmarked another $900 million of spending on Soviet-style munitions between now and 2022. This was reported by the Balkan Insight.
But the flow of weapons to these Pentagon-backed militia depends on misleading official paperwork, an investigation by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, OCCRP, has uncovered.
The total, $2.2 billion, likely understates the flow of weapons to Syrian rebels in the coming years.
The weapons and ammunition that the Pentagon is supplying to Syria are dispatched through a sprawling logistical network, including an army of arms dealers, shipping companies, cargo airlines, German military bases and Balkan airports and ports.
The purchases are routed through two channels. One is run by the US military’s Special Operations Command, SOCOM, and the other is operated by Picatinny Arsenal, a little-known New Jersey weapons depot.
As the journalists found out, the Balkan and East European arms manufacturers, who are already working at full capacity to supply the Syrian war, are not able to meet this demand.
The Pentagon bought weapons for the Syrian rebels from Kazakhstan, Georgia and Ukraine. This is stated in the investigation of the Center for the Study of Corruption and Organized Crime (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).
The defeat of Islamic State in Syria is reliant on a questionable supply-line, funnelling unprecedented quantities of weapons and ammunition from Eastern Europe to some 30,000 anti-ISIS rebel fighters.
Armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades fresh from state-owned production lines and stockpiles of the Balkans, Central Europe and increasingly the former Soviet Union, these US-backed troops are spearheading the battle to reclaim Raqqa, the capital of the so-called caliphate, and liberate other areas of Syria held by ISIS.
"The Pentagon hired an entire army of contractors and subcontractors, from rich military industrial corporations to firms with links to organized crime, which sent them to the Syrian rebels, who had long been at war with the Islamic State (IG), weapons and ammunition of the Soviet model for , reaching 2.2 billion dollars, "the investigation alleges.
It has bought up to $480 million worth of Soviet-style arms and ammunition for Syrian rebels since the switch in strategy, this investigation can reveal, from Afghanistan, Bulgaria, BIH, Croatia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and Serbia.
The US had traditionally turned to Romania and Bulgaria for non-standard armaments, but the surge in demand has forced contractors to look to the Czech Republic, BiH, Serbia, and now Russia’s neighbours Ukraine, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, and even Afghanistan, according to US procurement records.
As it was reported earlier Trump gave Pentagon more powers on Iraq, Syria. This decision is aiming to increase the effectiveness of the US military operation against the ISIS militants.