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ISIS Reportedly Using Chemical Weapons in Syria

EMRAH YORULMAZ / ANADOLU AGENCY

MOSUL, IRAQ - AUGUST 6: Syrian People's Protection Units (YPG) members fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Rabia town, Mosul, Iraq on August 6, 2014. YPG members and Kurdish Peshmerga forces fire to howitzers and machine guns against ISIL during the clashes. (Emrah Yorulmaz - Anadolu Agency)

Aleteia - published on 09/01/15

Doctors Without Borders has treated patients with symptoms of "mustard gas" exposure

Damascus, Aleteia (Aleteia.org/ar) – ISIS could possibly have used chemical weapons during an attack that occurred on August 21 in a town in northern Syria, according to the organization Doctors without Borders. The organization said that its doctors have treated four people from one family complaining from difficulty in breathing and their bodies are covered with blisters. All of this occurred after a shell landed on their home. At the same time, the Syrian-American Medical Society presented a report that speaks of 50 patients that were treated for symptoms incident with exposure to a chemical substance.

According to a source close to Syrian rebel activists in the region, the shells that were fired upon a nearby village contained a chemical substance.

A spokesman for The Levant Front reported that no less than half of the shells and artillery that hit the region contained a liquid sulfur base. This is an extremely incendiary substance known by the name of “mustard gas” when it is in a liquid state at room temperature. However, when it is used in explosives it can cause serious damages to the skin, eyes, respiratory system and internal organs. In the destruction of the attack that hit a village in the Aleppo Province, Doctors without Borders stated that four people from one family (a father, mother and their two daughters) were transported to the hospital in the aftermath of the explosion due to respiratory complications and inflammation in their eyes and skin. Blisters also began to form on their skin after three hours followed by severe respiratory complications.

Pablo Marko, Director of the Doctors without Borders program in Syria stated, “We do not have laboratory evidence that confirms the cause for these symptoms,” however, “the clinical symptoms, the way in which these symptoms have evolved over time, the testimony of the patients regarding symptoms of poisoning indicate that they were exposed to a chemical agent.”

Government forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were accused in previous years of using chemical weapons against rebel factions during the conflict which destroyed the country and caused an estimated 250 thousand victims.

Thus far, any attempts of mediation by the United Nations have proved to be fruitless. A new diplomatic initiative needs to start in September under the leadership of the Special Envoy of the United Nations, Staffan de Mistura.     

In the meantime, President al-Assad has stated that he is confident that he still has the support of two key allies, Russia and Iran, who will never abandon their friends. The Syrian President stated further in an interview with the Lebanese Hezbollah owned channel, al-Manar, that there is big news on the horizon. He added that a solution is possible under the condition of international forces ending their support of “terrorism;” which is the term that he uses to describe both the opposition and jihadist groups.  

Tags:
Islamic MilitantsSyria
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