With US Humvees, heavy artillery and caches of small weapons, Maj Gen Zrian Wassan’s peshmerga fighters appear well equipped in the fight against ISIL.

But the arms were not supplied by Washington or another foreign power as Iraq’s Kurds have been demanding. The vehicles, machine guns and howitzers were captured from ISIL in recent battles in western Kurdistan.

The extremist group took the weapons from Iraq’s military, which was supplied and trained by the US, but abandoned the arsenal during ISIL’s lightning assault in June. […]