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US air-drops weapons to militants fighting in Syria: Pentagon

Two foreign-sponsored militants injured after a machine gun exploded during an exchange of fire near Aleppo, Syria. (file photo)

The United States and its so-called coalition partners have air-dropped tons of weapons to militants fighting inside Syria, a US military spokesman says.

"Coalition forces conducted an airdrop Sunday in northern Syria to resupply local counter-ISIL ground forces as they conduct operations against ISIL," US Central Command spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder said in a statement on Monday, using an acronym for the Daesh terrorist group.

"The aircraft delivery included small arms ammunition to resupply counter-ISIL ground forces so that they can continue operations against ISIL," he added.

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP the material included 50 tons of ammunition.

The Central Command spokesman said the ammunition was for those “moderate” militant groups whose leaders were "appropriately vetted by the United States and have been fighting to remove ISIL from northern Syria."

The surprise US move comes nearly two weeks after Russia began its military campaign against terrorists fighting against the Syrian government. Russia has carried out scores of airstrikes against terrorists there, killing hundreds of them.

On Wednesday, Russia fired 26 long-range cruise missiles from its warships in the Caspian Sea against terrorists in Syria.

Unnamed US officials have told The Associated Press that Russia has directed parts of its military campaign against US-backed terrorists and other extremist groups in an effort to weaken them.

They say the CIA-trained militants are now under Russian missile strikes with little prospect of rescue by their American supporters.

The Obama administration has few options to defend those it had secretly trained and armed, the officials say.

The CIA began its covert operation in 2013 to arm, fund and train terrorists to overthrow the Assad government. 

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