We know that ISIS will stop at nothing. So, using chemical weapons is surprising. It is, however, barbaric.
Let us pray for peace!
The U.S. believes Islamic State militants likely used mustard agent in an attack earlier this week on Kurdish forces in Iraq, senior U.S. officials said Thursday, the first indication the militant group has obtained a banned chemical weapon.
Officials said Islamic State could have obtained the mustard agent in Syria, whose government admitted to having large quantities of the blistering agent in 2013, when it agreed to give up its chemical weapons arsenal. “That makes the most sense,” a senior U.S. official said of the possibility that Islamic State obtained the mustard in Syria.
Islamic State could also have obtained the mustard agent in Iraq, officials said. U.S. intelligence agencies are still investigating the case.
The Assad regime in Syria said in 2013 that all of mustard stockpiles were destroyed, either by Syrian forces themselves or by international inspectors.
But inspectors said they were never able to verify claims by the Syrian government that it burned hundreds of tons of mustard agent in earthen pits, and U.S. intelligence agencies now say they believe Damascus hid caches of chemical agent from inspectors.
The use of mustard agent would mark a sharp upgrade in Islamic State’s battlefield capabilities, and a worrisome one. U.S. intelligence agencies have said in the past they believed Islamic State has used chlorine gas in attacks in Iraq. Chlorine, however, isn’t a banned chemical agent.