Concern in the North: ISIS cells in the Golan could use chemical weapons

There have been multiple reports of ISIS using chemical weapons in battle.

April 26, 2016 23:00
2 minute read.
isis damascus

ISIS claims partial control of Palestinian camp in Damascus. (photo credit: screenshot)

The security echelon in Israel has estimated that the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, an Islamist organization that identifies with ISIS in the southern Golan in Syria, has acquired some of Syrian President Basher Assad's chemical weapons stockpile, Channel 10 reported on Tuesday.

Security forces have kept a close eye on the activities of the Islamic State sympathizers near Israel's northern border as it fears that its militants will attempt to use the newly obtained explosive devices with mustard and chlorine gas payloads against Israel.

The threat of unconventional weapons, such as mustard or chlorine gas, is particularly fear-inducing as it could be disseminated to effect a large portion of the civilian population. If inhaled, chlorine gas turns to hydrochloric acid in the lungs, which can lead to internal burning and drowning through a reactionary release of fluid in the lungs. Similarly, mustard gas can be proliferated through the air and cause, among other complications, respiratory infections and ultimately death.

The Yarmouk Martryrs Brigade is currently situated in the abandoned UN outposts in the southern Golan Heights and is presently occupied with its struggle against Syrian opposition forces. As of now, defense authorities assert that is does not appear that the militants are planning to launch a chemical attack on Israel. However, security experts have not eliminated the option that they could change their tactic.

There have been multiple reports of ISIS using chemical weapons in battle.

Last August, the Wall Street Journal reported that ISIS used chemical weapons for the time during an insurgency in Iraq.

Russia similarly reported in January that there is a high chance that ISIS has been using chemical weapons in combat in Syria. In the same month, the Central Command Headquarters of the United States Army reported that a chemical weapons expert from the Islamist organization in Iraq was killed in an aerial attack by the Coalition forces in Mosul.

Additionally, the Americans captured a senior special from ISIS' chemical weapons program.

Assad has likewise come under fire repeatedly for his use of chemical weapons. Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said: "the Syrians used military grade chemical weapons and as of late have been using materials, chlorine, against civilians, including in these very days, after the supposed ceasefire, dropping barrels of chlorine on civilians."

Furthermore, a fact-finding mission of the global chemical weapons watchdog (OPCW) concluded in 2014 that the use of chlorine gas has been "systematic" in the Syrian civil war, even after the country surrendered its stockpile of toxic weapons.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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