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Pentagon Says It May Target Weapons Seized By Islamic State In Palmyra

Islamic State fighters search weapons boxes at a Russian base in what is said to be Palmyra, in this still image taken from video uploaded to social media on December 13.

The Pentagon said it may target weapons seized by the Islamic State extremist group when it captured the Syrian city of Palmyra because they pose a danger to U.S. forces in the region.

Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said on December 14 that the weapons IS seized likely included armored vehicles, guns, and possibly air-defense equipment or other heavy weaponry.

He said he hoped Russia or Syria would quickly retake Palmyra and neutralize the threat but said that the United States stands ready to strike if needed.

"Basically anything they seized poses a threat to the coalition, but we can manage those threats and we will," Townsend said. "I anticipate that we'll have opportunities to strike that equipment."

Russia or Syria would have a far better sense of who was on the ground and would be in a better position to eliminate the threat, which arose when IS recaptured the city this weekend, he said.

"We can't tell one side from the other. So we can't tell if the truck and the armored vehicle is being operated by a regime trooper, a Russian trooper, or [IS] fighter," he said.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters