A picture of a U.S.-made advanced anti-tank missile, apparently in the hands of a group Kurdish forces fighting near the northern Syrian town of Shaddadi, was posted to social media Tuesday.

If confirmed, it would be one of the first documented uses of a FGM-148 Javelin in the war against the Islamic State and a marked escalation in U.S. material being funneled to local groups.

The Javelin, first fielded at the turn of the 21st century and first used in combat in 2003, is one of the United States most advanced man-portable anti-tank weapons. However, a number of other countries use the Javelin, including Jordan and Qatar. Unlike the BGM-71 TOW–a system that the U.S. has sent in numbers to CIA-backed groups fighting in Syria–the Javelin uses an advanced system to actually lock on to its target through infrared imaging. The Javelin is also more portable than the TOW, which requires a heavy tripod and a portable power supply; a Javelin can be fired from the shoulder or a low crouch. […]