'First chemical attack' in Mosul injures seven

Irbil: The United Nations is warning that the alleged use of chemical weapons in Mosul, if confirmed, would be a serious violation of global humanitarian law and a war crime.

"This is frightful", said Lise Grande, the humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, in a March 4 statement.

According to the BBC, ISIS have always been suspected of making and using crude chemical weapons in territory it controls in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

USA -backed Iraqi forces on February 19 began a major offensive to dislodge IS militants from the western section of Mosul, nearly a month after they forced militants out of the eastern part of the city.

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Iraq has issued a warning about the possible use of chemical weapons in Mosul where Islamic State militants are battling US -backed Iraqi forces.

The baby is one of 12 people, including women and children, who have been treated since March 1 after the attack where Islamic State is fighting off an offensive by US -backed Iraqi forces, the United Nations said on Saturday. The UN said four are showing signs of associated with "exposure to a blister agent".

The five children and two women are "showing clinical symptoms consistent with an exposure to a blistering chemical agent", the organisation said.

World Health Organization said the patients were being treated in Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region, east of Mosul. Following the attacks, they smelled "something strange", "like a chemical agent" or "mustard gas".

It is not immediately clear who launched the attack, but media reports indicate that the mortar shells came from western Mosul, which is still controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants. The symptoms include blisters, redness in the eyes, irritation, vomiting and coughing.

Defeating Isis in Mosul would crush the Iraqi wing of the caliphate declared by the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in 2014, over parts of Iraq and Syria.

The suspected use of chemical weapons comes as rapidly increasing flow of people pours out of western Mosul, fleeing fierce battles between Iraqi security forces and ISIL fighters.

UNICEF's Vigneau said that more than 100,000 children have been displaced from Mosul since the military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh) began on 17 October 2016.

For its part, the United Nations said it is working as fast as possible to help those displaced.

  • Leroy Wright