Poison gas projectiles used against Syrians

The Islamic State group used poison gas in attacks against Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria in late June, a Syrian Kurdish militia and a group monitoring the Syrian conflict said yesterday.

Two UK-based organisations investigating the attack said they had confirmed Islamic State’s use of chemical weapons against Kurdish forces and civilian targets in Syria and Iraq, where they said chemical agents were also used in an attack on an Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga position on June 21 or 22.

Kurdish forces are playing a vital role in the fight against Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. The ultra-radical group has seized wide areas of both countries, declaring them part of a cross-border “caliphate” claiming to rule all Muslims. The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Islamic State had fired “makeshift chemical projectiles” on June 28 at a YPG-controlled area of the city of Hasaka, and at YPG positions south of the town of Tel Brak to the northeast of Hasaka city.

It was the first Islamic State attack of its kind against the YPG, said Redur Xelil, spokesman for the militia.

The type of chemical used had not been definitively determined, he said. None of the YPG fighters exposed to the gas had died because they were quickly taken to hospital.

The White House said it was aware of the reports of chemical weapons use and was seeking additional information.