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Safety

ISIS may be producing, using warfare agents

by Paula Dupraz-Dobias, special to C&EN
May 16, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 20

An international organization that monitors chemical weapons says “extremely worrying” proof exists that extremist group ISIS is manufacturing and using chemical agents in Syria and Iraq. Ahmet Üzümcü, the director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told the AFP press agency that OPCW has “strong suspicions” that ISIS fighters may have used chemical weapons. “The suspicions are that they may have produced it themselves, which is extremely worrying,” Üzümcü said. Last month, Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported that the jihadist organization launched a poisonous gas attack against Syrian troops in the east of the country. A suspected ISIS attack was also reported in March in northern Iraq, in which three children died and 1,500 people were injured. Injuries included skin rashes, burns, and respiratory problems. The United Nations-affiliated OPCW monitored the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons after President Bashar al-Assad’s government declared the existence of a stockpile of these agents.

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