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.
Imagine how fun things will be once the Great Middle East Nuclear Arms Race begins in earnest — assuming it hasn’t already.