BY LOLITA C. BALDOR
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. general leading the fight against the Islamic State group says the militants got control of military equipment and weapons, possibly including air defense equipment, when they recaptured the Syrian town of Palmyra.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend says 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 says the U.S.-led coalition will launch strikes and kill IS there, particularly if he sees insurgents moving weapons out of the city.
He says the complicating factor is that it’s difficult to tell Syrian government and Russian forces from Islamic State fighters there. He says the U.S. is staying out of it for now, giving Russia time to sort it out.
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