Watchdogs Concerned by Chemical Attacks in Iraq

Watchdogs Concerned by Chemical Attacks in IraqWatchdogs Concerned by Chemical Attacks in Iraq

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Monday voiced “serious concern” over reports that the Islamic State militant group has used chemical weapons in Iraq.

“Recent reports of possible use of chemical weapons in Iraq by non-state actors are a matter of serious concern,” The Hague-based OPCW said in a statement, AFP reported.

German officials said last week that Kurdish fighters had been attacked on Tuesday with chemical weapons, possibly chlorine or mustard gas, in northern Iraq, leaving many peshmerga suffering from “respiratory irritation.

The allegations, deemed “plausible” by a US official, follow claims in March by the autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq which said it had evidence that the extremist group used chlorine in a car bomb attack on January 23. The Wall Street Journal cited US officials as saying they believe last week’s attack used mustard gas.

OPCW said it was in contact with the Iraqi government and “will examine any substantive reports it receives.”

Along with the January attack, the Conflict Armament Research group and Sahan Research group said last month the IS had also targeted peshmerga with a projectile filled with an unknown chemical agent on June 21 or 22.

The chemical used had characteristics and clinical effects “consistent with a chlorine chemical agent,” the groups said. The organizations said they had also documented two such attacks against Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh Province on June 28.

It said that upon impact, the projectiles had released a yellow gas “with a strong smell of rotten onions.”