Isis uses poisonous gas on Kurdish forces, says monitoring group

The Kurdish YPG militia said that Isis launched 'makeshift chemical projectiles' at a YPG-controlled area of Hasaka, the capital city

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The Independent Online

Poisonous gas, which causes "burning of the throat, eyes and nose", has been used by Isis forces to attack Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria, a Syrian Kurdish militia and a UK based group monitoring the Syrian conflict said today.

The Kurdish YPG militia said that Isis (also known as Islamic State) launched "makeshift chemical projectiles" at a YPG-controlled area of Hasaka, the capital city of the Al-Hasakah Governorate in Syria, and at YPG positions south of the town of Tel Brak on 28 June.

Redur Xelil, a YPG spokesman, said the type of chemical used has not yet been determined.

He confirmed that no one exposed to the gas has died as the YPG fighters who came in to contact with the gas were quickly taken to hospital.

This is the first time that Isis has used poisonous gas against the YPG, he added.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, a UK-based group that reports on the war using activists on the ground, said that it had also monitored the use of poisonous gas by Isis in an attack on a village near Tel Brak on the same day.

The Observatory said that 12 YPG fighters had been exposed to the gas. The group also said that it had received information about the gas attack on Hasaka city, but released no other details.

The use of poisonous gas in attacks by Isis was unable to be independently verified by news agency, Reuters.

The YPG said that it was investigating Isis's use of chemical weapons with help from an international team of experts.

In a statement the YPG said that in the last four weeks its forces had captured industrial grade gas marks from Isis fighters, “confirming that they are prepared and equipped for chemical warfare along this sector of the front.”

It said that soliders exposed to the gas “experienced burning of the throat, eyes and nose, combined with severe headaches, muscle pain and impaired concentration and mobility”.

The YPG has driven Isis forces from areas of northeastern Syria this year with the help of United States-led air strikes. Areas captured from Islamic State include the town of Tel Abyad at the border with Turkey.

Additional reporting by Reuters