Report: ISIS Used Mustard Gas Against Kurds in Iraq
The United States believes Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists likely used mustard agent in an attack earlier this week on Kurdish forces in Iraq, senior officials said Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
If true, it would be the first indication that ISIS has obtained a banned chemical weapon.
Officials said Islamic State could have obtained the mustard agent in Syria, whose government admitted to having large quantities of the blistering agent in 2013, when it agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal.
“That makes the most sense,” a senior U.S. official said of the possibility that Islamic State obtained the mustard in Syria.
ISIS could also have obtained the mustard agent in Iraq, officials said. U.S. intelligence agencies are still investigating the case.
The Assad regime in Syria said in 2013 that all of mustard stockpiles were destroyed, either by Syrian forces themselves or by international inspectors.
But inspectors said they were never able to verify claims by the Syrian government that it burned hundreds of tons of mustard agent in earthen pits, and U.S. intelligence agencies now say they believe Damascus hid caches of chemical agent from inspectors.
The use of mustard agent would mark a sharp upgrade in ISIS’s battlefield capabilities, and a worrisome one, noted The Wall Street Journal.
U.S. intelligence agencies have said in the past they believed Islamic Statehas used chlorine gas in attacks in Iraq. Chlorine, however, isn’t a banned chemical agent.
In addition to mustard, the Assad regime admitted to having deadlier nerve agents, such as sarin and VX.
In 2013, the United States threatened military intervention against Syria’s government after sarin
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