Gwer, Northern Iraq – Islamic state fighters in northern Iraq are using chemical weapons against the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, commanding officers reported on Friday. Military officials assured that this is at least the tenth time they use chemical offenses in the area, which is considered a lot for this type of weaponry.
Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, said they have been receiving chemical attacks from the IS, twice in one week and the latest one as recent as on Tuesday night. The chemical used by the IS fighters appeared to be chlorine gas, according to Colonel Srud al-Bazanji, Peshmerga chief of staff for the area that was struck.
However, an unidentified Peshmerga commander said that one of the attacks by the IS consisted of rockets containing mustard gas. Both substances, the chlorine gas and mustard gas are banned for use by international treaties, and even though they are not very effective weapons, they can cause some psychological effect, as reported by the Telegraph.
“IS have attacked the Peshmerga with chemical weapons at least 10 times in the last 6 weeks alone,” said Hamish de Bretton Gordon, a former British Army colonel who now gives training to forces like the Peshmerga and assured to have witnessed an attack. “It is clear that Isil units do have chemical weapons in forward positions, and are very happy to use them.”
Al-Bazanji commented that the attacks were the IS sending a warning of their disposition to do anything to defend Mosul, the largest city held by rebels in Iraq. The Peshmerga chief of staff said that normal weapons are better at causing death and injury, but if people think that chemical weapons are being used they are more afraid.
Largest quantity of the chemicals
The rebel group in Mosul is known to have seized large quantities of industrial chlorine and are thought to be able to manufacture their own mustard gas. They have used it sporadically but they may be relying on the gases as they begin to lose territory in the city. These are troubling news for any forces battling the radical extremists from the Islamic State terrorist organization.
Intentions to conquer the city once again have been prompted by authorities and even their U.S. ally. President Obama said last week that the city will eventually fall somewhere by the end of the year. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember how delicate the situation is, and there is always room for surprises. Other officials said this win will be in early 2017 at the soonest, an optimistic outlook considering the IS attackers have shown to be relentless.