NEW DELHI: The United States said that it had air dropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces defending the Syrian city of Kobani, which has been caught in the cross-fire between the Kurds and Islamic State militants. But if a video released by the Islamic State is fact and not fiction, these could have fallen into the hands of the militants.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State published a video, in which an Islamic State militant shows off boxes of munitions with English-language markings that he claims were dropped by American forces. The video was posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news” on YouTube.

Although it is unclear what’s inside the box, the masked militant says, “this is some of the military equipment that was dropped by American forces… these are the bombs that the American forces dropped for the Kurdish parties… they are spoils of war for the Mujahedeen.”

The video follows an admission by the US Central Command that it had dropped 27 bundles of ammunition to Kurdish forces, although originally 28 bundles were meant to be delivered. A “stray bundle”, the US said, had to be destroyed “to prevent these supplies falling into enemy hands.”

AP meanwhile quoted the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights saying that weapons dropped by the US may have ended up in the hands of the militants.

Syrian envoy to the UN Bashar Jaafari told TASS news agency that while he could not confirm that IS had intercepted US weapons, the Syrian government was not notified of any arms drop. “No, we were not informed (about air drops). They did it only once, when the American permanent representative (Samantha Power) met with me to inform my government through me about the beginning of the military operation,” says Jaafari (as quoted in RT).

The ammunition drop comes as the US’ fight against the IS narrows in on Kobani, where Kurdish forces have been battling the militants for over a month. This infographic in the Washington Post shows the raw numbers of airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria since September 23, the day the US started bombing Syria.

Source: The Washington Post

The US-led coalition maintains that the airstrikes in Kobane have helped Kurdish fighters push back the Islamic State, however, "the security situation on the ground in Kobane remains tenuous," the US defence department said in a statement on Thursday.

Further, the BBC reported that Syrian fighters backed by the US have indicated that the US-led coalition faces a backlash in Syria owing to its bombing campaign. Reports of civilian deaths resulting from airstrikes have brought people out on the streets in protest.

Whilst the US maintains that no civilians have been killed, reports from the ground differ. Earlier in September, a video emerged that showed residents walking through their destroyed homes following a US airstrike, with the narrator of the video being heard saying, ‘“mass destruction of the civilian homes as a result of the strikes of the Western alliance on the civilians in the western Idlib suburbs… Look, it is all civilian homes.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported civilian casualties on several occasions. AP quoted the organisation’s director, Rami Abdurrahman, on the casualties of a US airstrike a few weeks ago, saying, “They killed only civilians there, workers at the site. There was no ISIS inside.” The comment had referred to a strike that hit grain silos in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, which, as Reuters reported, may have been mistaken for an Islamic State base.

In another incident, on September 23 when the US first bombed Syria, at least seven civilians, including five children, were killed in the village of Kafr Deryan in northern Idlib province. "Witness accounts suggest that the attack on the village harmed civilians but did not strike a military target, violating the laws of war by failing to discriminate between combatants and civilians, or that it unlawfully caused civilian loss disproportionate to the expected military advantage," Human Rights Watch had said in a statement.

In fact, at the end of September, the White House acknowledged that the strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from US drone strikes will not apply to US operations in Syria and Iraq.