There have been a number of allegations in the past year that ISIS has used chlorine in attacks by suicide bombers and in IEDs, the group is now stepping up attacks using chemical agents.
ISIS recently used devices filled with chemical agents against Kurdish forces and civilians in both Iraq and Syria, a joint investigation by two independent organizations has found.
The findings build on previous reporting that ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has begun to adapt both suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to include chlorine and other chemicals and may seek to exploit the use of chemicals as it develops new weapons.
The two U.K.-based groups — Conflict Armament Research (CAR) and Sahan Research — sent teams to investigate allegations that ISIS used chemical munitions on three occasions last month. Two of the incidents occurred in Hasakah province in northern Syria, where ISIS is locked in battle with the Kurdish YPG group. The third involved a 120 mm mortar that landed near Kurdish positions at the Mosul Dam in northern Iraq but failed to explode.
CAR said this was “the first documented use by (ISIS) forces of projectile-delivered chemical agents against Kurdish forces and civilian targets.”
James Bevan, executive director of CAR, said the group’s investigators went to the scene of the Mosul Dam attack a week after it occurred. Even then, the dark yellow liquid leaking from the mortar emitted a powerful odor. “The investigation team also experienced headaches and nausea when in close proximity to the projectile/agent,” Bevan said, symptoms consistent with exposure to a chlorine chemical agent.
The device was sent for further testing by the Kurdish Regional Government. A senior official with the Kurdish Region Security Council told CNN Sunday that they expected to confirm the device contained chlorine. The official said there had been several other instances in which ISIS had used chlorine against Kurdish Peshmerga units, and the group’s tactics were evolving.