ISIS militants got control of military equipment and weapons, possibly including air defense equipment, when they recaptured the Syrian town of Palmyra, the top US general leading the fight against IS told reporters on Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said Russian forces and the Syrian government took their eye off the ball and lost Palmyra and will likely try to take it back again. But if they don't, he said, the US-led coalition will take action, particularly if insurgents start moving weapons out of the city.
"Anything they seize poses a threat to the coalition, but we can manage those threats and we will," Townsend said, adding that ISIS likely has some armored vehicles, various guns and other heavy weapons there. Townsend said he anticipates that the coalition will have opportunities soon to strike the equipment and kill the militants operating it. "We will strike it if we see it moving away from Palmyra," he said. "I think ... as long as it stays in Palmyra, the Russians will have the lead and the regime will have the lead to deal with that."