IS ‘used mustard gas’ on Syrian troops

Islamic State fighters in Raqqa, northern Syria (file photo)Image copyright

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So-called Islamic State is alleged to carried out a string of mustard gas attacks

State media in Syria have accused militants from so-called Islamic State (IS) of using mustard gas against government forces in the north-east.

Troops came under fire at an air base which IS has been trying to capture in Deir al-Zour, they say.

The reports do not give any details of injuries of fatalities.

IS has been accused of using crude chemical weapons against opponents in Syria and Iraq, causing fear and casualties, including several deaths.

The Syrian government has itself been repeatedly accused of perpetrating chemical weapons attacks, something it vehemently denies.

Syria is supposed to be free of chemical weapons since June 2014 under a UN-backed deal.

Reporting on Monday night, the Syrian state news agency Sana said, “Daesh [IS] terrorists attacked Deir al-Zour military airport with rockets carrying mustard gas, causing some people to suffocate.”

Large parts of Deir al-Zour city containing about 200,000 people have been besieged by IS for months. Earlier this year the UN started dropping aid to civilians trapped in government-held areas.

The air base, south of the city, is the government’s last strategic asset in the province, which is mostly under IS control.

Last month IS was suspected of carrying out a mustard gas attack on the northern Iraqi town of Taza, killing three children and wounding hundreds of people.

It is also reported to have used mustard gas against rebels in Marea, northern Syria, and against Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq last August.

Sulphur mustard – commonly known as “mustard gas” although it is liquid at ambient temperature – is a powerful irritant and blistering agent which causes severe damage to the skin, eyes and respiratory system and internal organs.

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