chapter  7
4 Pages

Uncovering ISIS’s Use of Chemical Weapons

WithJonathan Spyer

The first rumors of chemical weapons use by the Islamic State organization began in the late summer of 2014. In the course of 2014, rumors began to spread among the inhabitants of the Kurdish enclaves in the north that the jihadis of State in Iraq and Syria were employing chemical weapons of some kind in their war against the Kurdish people’s protection units. According to subsequent UN investigations, the regime used sarin gas against rebel-controlled areas in Khan Al-Asal and Saraqib in Syria's north. The subsequent expectation was that the US would take direct action, probably involving air power, to "punish" the regime and seek to restore the ban on use of chemical and biological weapons as an instrument of Syria war. In the event, a "compromise" was reached according to which Syria would agree to sign the chemical weapons convention and accept the removal of its chemical weapons stockpiles by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.