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Chemical weapons used by Isis in Syria: Reuters


Chemical weapons used by Isis in Syria: Reuters
Islamic State or Isis terrorists used mustard gas was used in a Syrian town where the Islamic insurgents were battling another group, according to a report by an international watchdog reports Reuters.
At least two people were exposed to sulfur mustard in the town of Marea, north of Aleppo, on August 21 as concluded in a confidential October 29 report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a summary of which was shown to Reuters.
"It is very likely that the effects of sulfur mustard resulted in the death of a baby," the report said.
Syria had earlier agreed to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile including sulfur mustard and the findings provide the first official confirmation of use of sulfur mustard, commonly known as mustard gas, in the country. 18 months ago Syria is supposed to have completely surrendered the toxic chemicals.
As the fact-finding mission was not mandated to assign blame, the report did not mention Islamic State. However diplomatic sources confirmed that the chemical had been used in the clashes between Islamic State and another rebel group taking place in the town at the time, reported Reuters. Their use violates U.N. Security Council resolutions and the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.
"It raises the major question of where the sulfur mustard came from. Either they (Isis) gained the ability to make it themselves, or it may have come from an undeclared stockpile overtaken by IS. Both are worrying options," one source said.
This report would provide credence to a pilling group of allegations and body of evidence that the Islamic State has obtained, and is using, chemical weapons in both Iraq and Syria.. the report is to be placed formally before U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon later this month.
In August Isis was charged of firing mortar rounds containing mustard agent at Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq during clashes as alleged by Kurdish authorities. "Signatures" of mustard gas were evident in the blood samples taken from around 35 fighters who were exposed in the attack southwest of the regional capital of Erbil, said Kurdish authorities.
A team of OPCW experts has been sent to Iraq to confirm the findings and is expected to obtain its own samples later this month, one diplomat said.
The Syrian findings about the chemical weapons would be discussed by at a special session that has been called by the OPCW's 41-member Executive Council in The Hague on Nov. 23 Reuters reports.
Sulfur mustard has few uses outside warfare  and causes severe delayed burns to the eyes, skin and lungs and is a so-called Schedule 1 chemical agent.
However a second report by the OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria said the team had so far been unable to substantiate claims from the Syrian government that its forces had been targeted by insurgents using chemical weapons.
The report said that the mission "cannot confidently determine whether or not a chemical was used as a weapon" by militants in the Jober area on Aug. 29, 2014.

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