Syrian Human Rights Group Details ISIS Use of Chemical Weapons
The Syrian Network for Human Rights have documented at least four recent instances where Islamic State (ISIS) fighters have used chemical weapons in fighting in both Syria and Iraq. As reported today in the Daily Telegraph, ISIS fighters have twice used mustard gas in recent assaults on the pivotal town of Marea in northern Syria, north of Aleppo. In the past several days, ISIS has fired rockets filled with chemical weapons north of Mosul inside Iraq. An earlier attack against Peshmerga (Kurdish) forces in the Kurdish Region of Iraq also involved the deployment of chemical weapons, according to experts who surveyed the area and interviewed eyewitnesses and hospital personnel.
In a related development, indicating the intensity of the ISIS advances, Al Jazeera reported on intense fighting between Islamic State and rival rebel groups in the southern district of Damascus, just three miles from the center of the city.
The intense fighting in the outskirts of Damascus and the ISIS use of chemical weapons lends further credence to the reports that Russia is considering providing direct military backing to the Assad government, in addition to the diplomatic initiatives undertaken in the past month to revive the Geneva peace negotiations.