When ISIS took over massive swathes of Iraq
in 2014, it captured huge amounts of weaponry from the collapsing Iraqi army. Some of the hardware was U.S.-made and the group subsequently attracted headlines for using American M4 and M16 rifles in its propaganda videos as well as humvees in suicide bombings. In 2015, the Iraqi prime minister said that ISIS managed to capture 2,300 humvees when the group took over the city of Mosul.
Despite its seemingly impressive haul of western weaponry after its conquests in Iraq, about 90 percent of all weapons and ammunition deployed by ISIS
are of Warsaw Pact calibers, mainly originating in China, Russia and Eastern Europe. That was the result of an extensive analysis of 40,000 items of ISIS weaponry recovered in Syria and Iraq, conducted by Conflict Armament Research between 2014 and 2017.
The unauthorized retransfer of weapons originally destined for Syrian opposition forces has also turned into a key source of arms for ISIS, particularly anti-tank guided weapons systems. 43.5 percent of all ISIS weapons documented in Syria and Iraq were manufactured by China while Russia only accounts for 9.6 percent. Despite that, Russian weapons still outnumber Chinese weapons in Syria, more than likely due to Russian arms supplies to forces loyal to the Assad regime. Even though ISIS has shown off captured western hardware, American wepons only accounted for 1.8 percent of the total documented.