Islamic State trains with American armored vehicles in Iraq


A US-made Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle used by the Islamic State

The Islamic State has released photographs detailing the training of its so-called “Third Armored Brigade” in Iraq’s northern province of Ninewa. The images show the use of American-made Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, as well as old Soviet armor. In addition to displaying the jihadists training with these vehicles, the fighters are also shown undergoing weapons training with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

The vehicles were likely captured from the Iraqi military after the fall of Mosul last year or in subsequent battles. In June, the Islamic State showcased its “spoils” gained from fighting the Iraqi Security Forces near the town of Al Karmah, which sits in between Fallujah and Baghdad. Numerous Humvees, cargo trucks, fuel tankers, and US-made MRAPS were shown have been captured by the Islamic State. [For more information, see Threat Matrix report, Islamic State shows off ‘spoils of war’ from recent battles near Fallujah.]

The Islamic State is known to have operated 69 training camps in Iraq and Syria. Thirty-six of these were operated in Iraq, with the other 33 in Syria. More than 140 other jihadist training camps have been identified as being operational in the region since 2012 by The Long War Journal. [See this map for more information.]

Photos showing the US MRAP’s:
















Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • Yababa says:

    Wow, this is crazy. They are a well equipped army.

  • A. N. says:

    What a colossal waste of money. How about a few A10 Warthog runs against these camps?

  • Dennis says:

    How is it that a supposed unit of this size goes un-noticed in this theatre? Un-bombed,…??

  • Myrddin says:

    Imagine how different warfare in the MENA would be if technologically advanced powers could deploy flying machines to rule the air over the battle field and wreck havoc upon a landborne enemy impertinent enough to parade himself in broad daylight and with flags flying, in order to make a promotional social media campaign, rather than such an idea merely existing as some sort of computer image in a teen fantasy movie ?

    What a different world that one would be…………..

  • Mel says:

    Last I checked, 6 guys and 4 vehicles does not make a brigade.

  • tom minick says:

    Not to mention the 2,200 armored up Hummers, 100 plus Abrams and hundreds of tons of small arms and ammo. We continue to re-supply ISIS, when will we ever learn!!

  • popseal says:

    The West’s tepid, political correctness is like a blind fold. These savages should have been sent to their pagan orgy and its non gender specific virgins in the clouds long ago. The longer the West delays an all out bludgeoning of ISIS, the harder the battle will be. A few drone attacks would have been sufficient a year ago. No telling what it will take next year.

  • Curtis LeMay says:

    The most interesting bit of information gleaned from these images seems to me to be the fact that the IS fighters depicted seem to be wearing matching uniforms. Does this indicate a shift in IS formations to a regularized military type structure as opposed to the traditional jihadi models of using irregular forces with loose command structures? Have you folks at the longwarjournal seen any indication of this type of regularization of IS forces before?

  • Ross says:

    Hopefully these vehicles have hidden GPS trackers on board to help these cowards get to hell sooner.

  • Robert Corsini says:

    Why are they cowards? Picking up a rifle or cleaning up a broken down military vehicle with which to challenge the U.S. Army is not an act of a coward. We should be holding those responsible for starting this war, responsible.

  • Andre from sacto says:

    Right?!?! These are propaganda videos. This is where one presents all their best for recruitment purposes. This may make some wanna be cross the border to join but as a serious display of firepower it ain’t.

  • paulo romero says:

    The West’s non-existent strategy to defeat Isis is being exposed by the willingness of the Russians to take the fight to all Sunni extremists in the region. By pandering to the Saudi’s and Turks’ who are trying to use the Syrian war as a proxy war against Iran, the West has effectively tied it’s hands in the fight against Sunni Muslim extremism which is fueling the largest terror threat the world has faced.
    There are no religious moderates in the Syrian war with the exception of the Kurds and possibly Assad himself. In the Arab world religion comes first, before democracy. The West has been duped by their so called allies into believing that Western style democracy will thrive in the region. They’ve been pouring guns and money into the wrong hands and as we can see a lot of those resources are ending up with the enemy. One day soon some of those TOW missiles that the Saudis, Gulf States and Turkey are pouring into Syria will make their presence felt against Western targets.

  • LeotheOrangeCat says:

    They’re just trolling us. They prefer their Toyota Hilux’s with a KPV mounted in the bed.


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