ISIS Used Chemical Arms at Least 52 Times in Syria and Iraq, Report Says – New York Times

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A cemetery on the outskirts of Gaziantep, Turkey. Grave No. 38487 holds the body of a 4-year-old girl who died of wounds she received when a shell containing sulfur mustard agent hit her home in Marea, Syria.

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Bryan Denton for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Islamic State has used chemical weapons, including chlorine and sulfur mustard agents, at least 52 times on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq since it swept to power in 2014, according to a new independent analysis.

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.




Reported attacks with chemical weapons.

Reported attacks with chemical weapons.


“The coalition is concerned about ISIL’s use of chemical weapons,” Col. John Dorrian, a military spokesman in Iraq, said in an email on Monday, using another name for the Islamic State. “ISIL has used them in Iraq and Syria in the past, and we expect them to continue employing these types of weapons.”

Colonel Dorrian said that the Islamic State’s ability to use chemical weapons is “rudimentary,” and that American, Iraqi and other allied troops are equipped to deal with the impact of these chemical attacks — typically rockets, mortar shells or artillery shells filled with chemical agents. The effects of these chemical munitions thus far have been limited to the immediate area where they land.

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