US Air Strikes on ISIS Chemical Weapons Plants in Iraq

The danger of Islamic State chemical warfare escalates as the US-led coalition offensive nears for the liberation of the important Iraqi town of Mosul, now scheduled for Oct. 19.
The Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis gave this warning on Monday, Sept. 26 when he discussed the obstacles potentially facing the Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces when they advanced on the Iraqi city to cleanse it of ISIS occupation from 2014.
The spokesman omitted to mention the participation of US special operations forces in the offensive. Assembled there are some 11,000 US servicemen, aside from advisers, trainers and contractors, to be topped up by another 600, according to reports in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 29.
Capt. Davis said that the US military had documented at least a couple of dozen instances in which the Islamic State had used or tried to use chemical weapons.
ISIS is known to be pursuing a chemical weapons program in Iraq and Syria since 2014.
Twice this month, the US military targeted Islamic State chemical weapons facilities in northern Iraq. On Sept. 23, US warplanes bombed a very large pharmaceutics factory near the town of Qayyarah, 75 km northeast of Mosul, which ISIS had converted to the production of chlorine and/or mustard gas agents.
On Sept. 14, US planes destroyed an ISIS chemical weapons storage facility and a rocket and mortar system near the Iraqi town of Huwayia.
It was claimed that before the attack, meteorological and other tests had been conducted to make sure that the air strike did not pollute the environment and harm the local population. But there is no way that exploding chemical weapons can be prevented from poisoning the immediate environment. Therefore, any air strike of this kind, although conducted with conventional weapons, has the same effect on the near environment as a chemical attack.
DEBKA Weekly’s military and intelligence sources report that these air strikes were preventive measures among other steps taken by CENTCOM, which is in charge of the operation, to clear away obstacles expected to confront the coalition’s Moslem assault.
An ISIS attack on the base on Sept. 20 triggered a chemical warfare alarm. US, Iraqi and Kurdish commanders there believed that the Islamists had fired chemical shells to prove that their chemical program was unimpaired by the US air raids and still capable of releasing toxic weapons.
However, a week later, a spokesman of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS downplayed the weapon used as not gravely harmful or a mustard gas bomb.
Converging on Qayyarah Airfield West – Q-West – in the Qayyarah sub-district of Mosul District, on hand for D-Day, are the forces assigned to the forthcoming assault, dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve. They consist of US Special Operations troops, together with Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga units.
Some months ago, the US army distributed 49,000 gas marks to Iraqi special anti-terror forces and another 9,000 to Peshmerga troops. No information was released about the gear issued to American security personnel in Iraq. However, as is shown in the photo at the top of this article, they are all undergoing intensive training for the contingency of chemical warfare

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