Australia claims ISIS using chemical weapons

Australian Foreign Minister accuses ISIS of using chlorine bombs

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has claimed that ISIS has been using chlorine bombs and recruiting technicians to develop chemical weapons, Reuters has reported.

Giving a speech in a conference against the usage of chemical weapons, Bishop called ISIS “one of the most dangerous security threats the world faces today.”

"Apart from some crude and small scale endeavours, the conventional wisdom has been that the terrorist intention to acquire and weaponise chemical agents has been largely aspirational," Bishop told a meeting of the Australia Group in Perth.

"The use of chlorine by ISIS and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the West, have revealed far more serious efforts in chemical weapons development," she said.

"Daesh is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons," Bishop added.

According to Bishop, Iraqi Kurdish authorities have evidence that ISIS used chemical weapons against Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq in January.

Soil and clothing samples taken after ISIS attacks have been studied and chemicals were found containing chlorine.

The usage of chlorine as a weapon was banned under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits all use of toxic agents on the battlefield.

However in Syria's civil war many incidents have been reported concerning the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government against civilians.

The allegations have been investigated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. However  the Syrian government did not allowed the organisation to enter the sites.

The suspected chemical attacks are only one danger faced by Syrian civilians. According to the UN Security Council the Assad regime launched barrel-bomb attacks in Syria’s Aleppo province on Friday, leaving scores dead.

Seven children were reported to be among the 14 people who were killed in the attack, according to the report.

A statement from the Council, which includes Syria’s ally Russia, has condemned “all violence against civilians, and civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities.”

Senior UN aid official John Ging estimates that some 3,600 people have been killed by barrel bombs in Aleppo alone since the beginning of the war, now in its fifth year, according to diplomats who attended the briefing.

TRTWorld and agencies