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  ISIS accused in Syria mustard gas attack

ISIS accused in Syria mustard gas attack

AFP/REUTERS
Published : Nov 7, 2015, 5:33 am IST
Updated : Nov 7, 2015, 5:33 am IST

Activists accused the ISIS group Friday of being behind a deadly gas attack in northern Syria this past summer, which the global chemical weapons watchdog said was mustard gas.

Activists accused the ISIS group Friday of being behind a deadly gas attack in northern Syria this past summer, which the global chemical weapons watchdog said was mustard gas.

Meanwhile, Islamist rebels wrested back a flashpoint town in the central province of Hama, reversing the last of gains the Army had made in a month-old offensive. Mustard gas was used in the town of Marea in Aleppo province on August 21, a source from the Organisation for the Prohibition for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told AFP.

“We have determined the facts, but we have not determined who was responsible,” the source said. But activists and a monitoring group said it was clear that ISIS was behind the attack. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian observatory for human rights monitoring group, said “ISIS used toxic gases during its attack on Marea in August.”

He said ISIS had likely gotten the gas through Turkey or Iraq. Journalist Maamun al-Khatib, who was in Marea at the time, said: “We knew it was ISIS because all the shells were being fired east of Marea, and that area is totally under the control of ISIS.” ISIS has attacked Marea for months in an effort to cut off a supply route into the country from Turkey.

For activist Nizar al-Khatib, OPCW’s report “comes too late and isn’t enough, because it doesn’t identify IS as the one responsible for firing the mustard gas.” Doctors Without Borders treated four members of a single family for “symptoms of exposure to chemical agents.” The Marea residents told MSF they saw a “yellow gas” when a mortar round hit their house.

Meanwhile, airstrikes by Russian warplanes on the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa killed 42 people earlier this week, including 27 civilians, monitoring group the Syrian observatory for human rights said Friday. Fifteen ISIS fighters made up the remainder of the death toll, the observatory said, after a series of stri-kes on Tuesday hit the group’s Syrian stronghold.

Location: Lebanon, Beirut