A Red Cross representative yesterday confirmed with the BBC that chemical weapons have been used in Mosul. Currently, it is unknown exactly what chemical are being used, only that those exposed to it have suffered severe blisters, coughing, and vomiting. As of now, there are twelve victims, but it is possible that more are expected as the twelve were wounded in separate attacks. It is also unknown exactly what side used the attacks, but ISIS have been known to use and manufacture chemical weapons.

The Battle for Mosul

The US-backed Iraqi army has been fighting for control of the Iraqi city for weeks now.

Success has been real but slow, on March 1st the Iraqi army managed to take control of a major road out of the city, and recently a bridge across the Tigris river was taken, however, it was badly damaged in the attack. This use of chemical weapons may suggest a level of desperation in ISIS as, though the fighting is fierce, Iraqi control of the city feels inevitable. This would be a substantial blow against ISIS military capabilities ad would be emblematic of their ever decreasing territory. But the battle, which was expected to be tough and violent, is proving to be harder to win than expected.

Mosul

Mosul was taken by ISIS in 2014 when they defeated an Iraqi garrison of 60,000. Since then it has been a site of major concern for Iraq, at the time the city was taken, there was little to stop ISIS moving in and taking Baghdad.

Though ISIS’s military power is not on the level it once was, having a major city under ISIS control, is still a major concern to Iraq.

Chemical weapons

The use of chemical weapons is a breach of international law. Their use in Mosul has caused outrage by humanitarian groups and the U.N, with the U.N Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Lise Grande saying: “This is horrible.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

If the alleged use of chemical weapons is confirmed, this is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime, regardless of who the targets or the victims of the attacks are"

It seems likely that the use of chemical weapons may prompt a major investigation and an increase in military action against ISIS.