ISIS has been using chemical weapons on US troops and Iraqi Security forces in West Mosul, Iraq, an American military commander is reporting.
Major Gen. Joseph Martin, commander of the coalition ground forces in Iraq, said that as ISIS’s military position worsens in the area, “so too does their humanity.”
What happened? Martin said that “Daesh has used chemicals in the vicinity of Mosul. The chemicals have had no impact on the Iraqi Security Forces. They had no impact on our forces. And we’re not certain at this time exactly what the agent is. We have sent (samples) back for testing. But we’re still waiting for the outcomes of those tests, based on my understanding.”
While American forces were unharmed, the chemical weapon apparently had an effect on some of the Iraqi security forces. CNS news reports that Martin refused to say how many Iraqi troops were affected by ISIS’ chemical attack: “But what I’ll tell you is that they were all treated and they were all taken to the appropriate level of care to make sure that they were all right.”
CNS News: U.S. Military Commander: ‘Daesh Has Used Chemicals in the Vicinity of Mosul’
New York Times: ISIS Used Chemical Arms at Least 52 Times in Syria and Iraq, Report Says
Military Times: Iraqi unit with US and Australian advisers hit by ISIS chemical weapon
Are we protected? Martin said that all US and coalition forces have the appropriate equipment to protect themselves. “They’ve been trained on how to use that equipment. And they’ve been … to help the Iraqis if the Iraqis ever run into another instance where Daesh decides to use chemicals.”
He said the chemicals were deployed by “indirect fire.” There were American and Australian troops in the area at the time, but Martin would disclose little else.
“Unfortunately, I’m not going to get into the details of a specific — a specific vignette as to what happened. What I’ll tell you is that we’re forward with the Iraqis each and every day. And with that, we share some risk with them.
“But we’re ready for that risk. We understand the importance of that. And we understand the commitment it takes to — to share that risk with the Iraqis, and we’ve got the equipment to protect ourselves in case we need to.”
Has ISIS done this before? Yes, a lot. One New York Times report indicates that the Islamic State has used chemical weapons at least 52 times in both Syria and Iraq.
More than one-third of those chemical attacks have come in and around Mosul, the Islamic State stronghold in northern Iraq, according to the assessment by the IHS Conflict Monitor, a London-based intelligence collection and analysis service.
The IHS conclusions, which are based on local news reports, social media and Islamic State propaganda, mark the broadest compilation of chemical attacks in the conflict. American and Iraqi military officials have expressed growing alarm over the prospect of additional chemical attacks as the allies press to regain both Mosul and Raqqa, the Islamic State capital in Syria.