Newly released photos seem to indicate that the Islamic State has obtained chemical weapons and has used them on ethnic Kurds in Syria, at least one expert says.
The photos are believed to have been taken in July when the Islamic State, which is also commonly referred to as ISIS or ISIL, attacked the Kobani region of Syria. Those attacks came about a month after the militant group stormed the Muthanna compound in Iraq. That compound is known to have produced chemical weapons for Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and was thought to still store remnants of the program as late as 2007.
The photos from the July attack on Kobani, which were obtained and released in a report by the Global Research in International Affairs Center, show evidence of skin blistering on victims. Such blisters are indicative of chemical weapon use, according to Jonathan Spyer, the editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal and author of the report.
Spyer told Fox News he believes the photos of the bodies of the victims show signs that they were attacked with what “appears to be a case of mustard gas or some kind of blistering agent.”
“It is fairly concerning that, if the pictures are genuine — and I have no reason to believe they are not — then this (use of chemical weapons) is looking clearer and clearer,” Spyer said.
The siege on the Kobani region began July 2. Spyer believes the use of chemical weapons didn’t occur until July 12.
It is not entirely certain that Islamic State fighters obtained the weapons from the Muthanna compound. If they did, though, it would corroborate a 2007 report from the CIA that suggested the compound still contained chemical weapons.
But when the militants stormed the compound in June the U.S. State Department suggested there was little, if anything, there that could be used for warfare.
“We do not believe that the complex contains (chemical weapons) materials of military value, and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to safely move the materials,” Jen Psaki, spokeswoman for the State Department, said at the time.
But Spyer told the The Huffington Post that the new evidence means authorities should increase their investigative efforts to determine the Islamic State’s capabilities and determine the source of the weapons.
“The probable possession by the Islamic State of a (chemical weapons) capability is for obvious reasons a matter of the gravest concern, and should be the urgent subject of further attention and investigation,” Spyer said.
Photo Source: Global Research in International Affairs Center