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Confirmed: ISIS Used Mustard Gas to Attack Kurds

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The Islamic State used mustard gas in attacks on Kurdish fighters in Iraq last year, Reuters reported it has now been confirmed.

An independent analysis of samples from the battlefield confirmed mustard gas was used in an attack last August in which 35 Kurdish soldiers were poisoned and showed symptoms of the chemical agent. Mustard gas is a chemical weapon first used in World War I, which burns the lungs and eyes.

The analysis was carried out by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The tests confirmed the gas was used by the Islamic State, an unnamed diplomat told the press on condition of anonymity.

The OPCW also found evidence that sarin gas has been used in Syria, although it is unclear in what circumstances.  

Confirmation of the attack in Iraq follows proff that the Islamic State used mustard gas in Syria last October.

One diplomat speculated ISIS had captured its chemical weapons from the Syrian regime. “If Syria has indeed given up its chemical weapons to the international community, it is only the part that has been declared to the OPCW and the declaration was obviously incomplete,” the diplomat told Reuters.

Another theory is that ISIS is manufacturing its own mustard gas. “I’m pretty convinced that the mustard IS are using in Iraq is made by them in Mosul," chemical weapons specialist Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told Reuters. "They have all the precursors at hand from the oil industry and all the experts at hand to do it."

Watch the original report from August about the attacks:

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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