ISIS chemical attacks could be carried out outside Syria – OPCW

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Islamic State militants who know how to use chemical weapons may apply their skills outside of Syria, a top global chemical weapons watchdog official told media.

“It seems that one of the dangers that we need to face and have a response for – since Islamic State has learnt how to make mustard gas – is that sadly one of the people who learnt how to do it comes back to one of our countries and helps carry out an attack like this,” Philippe Denier, director at the verification division of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told a defense conference in Paris on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Earlier in November, the Russian Defense Ministry already turned to the OPWC with a request to send experts to Aleppo, following reports of chemical attacks taking place in the area.

“[We] ask the OPCW governing body to consider sending [its] experts to Aleppo’s ‘1070’ area as soon as possible on a mission to establish the facts of the use of chemical agents as weapons,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov told journalists.

The call was based on a Russian analysis of soil samples and shell fragments examined by experts from the Russian Troops for Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense (RChBD) in Aleppo. The fragments were then expected to be handed over to the watchdog for further consideration, according to an established procedure.

However, the organization dismissed Russia’s appeal in a move that was “seemingly done under pressure from our western colleagues,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“Russian specialists found that militants in east Aleppo used ammunition with poisonous substances, with the ammo targeting west Aleppo. The collected samples leave no doubt that it’s a toxic agent,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Minsk.
The organization “refused to carry out this simple task, citing security issues,” the minister said, adding that now Russia may turn its plan into reality by trying to send samples to The Hague.

Among the latest incidents, Syrian state media said that terrorists used toxic gas against government forces inside Aleppo in October. Fifteen people were injured in the attack and a doctor told RT that their symptoms pointed to the use of chlorine gas.