Report: Peshmerga Claims ISIS Used Chemical Weapons

Youssef Boudlal/Reuters
Youssef Boudlal/Reuters

Iraqi Peshmerga officials told Kurdish media outlet Rudaw that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) is using chemical weapons against Peshmerga soldiers in Makhmur, Iraq.

“Last night at least 45 mortar rounds were fired at our positions, which we believe were loaded with chemicals, since the wounds are different,” explained Kurdish commander Muhammad Khoshawi.

Koshawi explored the grounds with a Rudaw reporter. He showed the outlet exact spots where ISIS attacked soldiers. The officials sent evidence to experts, but he said none have reached any conclusions.

The video then cuts to medical examinations of wounded soldiers. Khoshawi described how French and American experts concluded that 3% to 4% of the bodies were burned due to some kind of chemical substance. Soldiers now use gas masks until officials receive confirmation from tests.

ISIS has been accused of using chemical weapons in the past. In July, two British monitoring groups found evidence the terrorist group used chemical weapons against the Kurdish army. Newsweek reports:

The first attack saw projectiles emit “a powerful chemical odour” which “smelt like rotten onions,” hospitalising 12 Kurdish soldiers after inducing “breathing difficulties, sinus problems and streaming eyes … followed by below the waist and temporary paralysis,” he says. Nine days later, a CAR field team inspected the craters and fragments left by the projectiles and “within about 30 seconds” they had “immediate sinus issues and feelings of nausea,” Bevan reveals.

The YPG forces were tested at a hospital in northern Syria and tested positive for PH3, a phosphine based chemical and toxic liquid which is used as a fumigating agent, Bevan says. The second attack saw a mortar strike a civilian home, leaving the same chemical residue as the first attack, inducing “almost identical effects.”

In March, the Kurdistan Region Security Council accused ISIS of using chlorine gas against Peshmerga fights in January. The attack occurred between Mosul and the Syrian border. The soldiers “found ‘around 20 gas canisters’ that had been loaded onto the truck involved in the attack.” The affected fighters experienced “dizziness, nausea, vomiting and general weakness.”

The Libyan military warned the world that ISIS fighters in the country had acquired chemical weapons, including mustard and sarin. Authorities destroyed as many weapons as they could in 2014. However, former dictator Moammar Gadhafi “kept approximately 1,000 cubic tons worth of material used for manufacturing chemical weapons and about 20,000 cubic tons of mustard gas.” These officials said ISIS militants tested the weapons near Tripoli.

Pictures and witnesses claim the terrorists grabbed chlorine gas in Iraq last October. During the Kobane fight, Kurdish fighters suffered “breathing problems, bleeding from the eyes, skin burns and vomiting.”