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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Germany confirms Peshmerga fighting ISIS were attacked by chemical weapons

By Polla Garmiany 13/8/2015
File photo of Kurdish soldiers surveying the site of a bomb attack on a road between Mosul, Iraq, and the Syrian border in northern Iraq.  Photo: Kurdistan Region Security Council.
File photo of Kurdish soldiers surveying the site of a bomb attack on a road between Mosul, Iraq, and the Syrian border in northern Iraq. Photo: Kurdistan Region Security Council.
BERLIN, Germany – The German military on Thursday confirmed a possible chemical weapons attack on Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers fighting the Islamic State group (ISIS).

The autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq had asked for international help to determine whether chemical weapons had been used in an attack late Tuesday on the Peshmerga on the Makhmur front, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) southwest of Erbil.

There was a “possible chemical weapons attack on the Kurdish frontlines at sector six,” the German defense ministry said. 

Muhammad Khoshawi, a Peshmerga commander, told Rudaw on Wednesday that a group of Western experts had arrived in the area to take samples and establish facts after a Tuesday night mortar attack on Kurdish positions in Makhmur, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) southwest of Erbil.

“Last night at least 45 mortar rounds were fired at our positions, which we believe were loaded with chemicals, since the wounds are different,” Khoshawi, whose forces patrol the area, had said.

Burn wounds on the bodies of a number of Peshmerga were examined by the experts and sent to a laboratory for further studies, according to Khoshawi.

He said Peshmerga forces in the area were instructed to use gas masks in case of mortar attacks until results are verified in the laboratory.  

This spring, the Kurdish government informed its allies that Peshmerga forces were attacked with chlorine gas. Late last year, ISIS repotedly seized an Iraqi chemical weapons factory with about 2,500 rockets, containing the deadly nerve agent Sarin.

About 80 German soldiers are stationed in the Kurdistan Region to train the Peshmerga forces. Germany is one of the few countries supplying the Kurdish troops directly through Erbil and not through the Iraqi central government in Bagdad.

The German defense ministry said that there will be no changes for the mission in the Kurdistan Region. German soldiers will continue to train Peshmerga forces.

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fermin | 13/8/2015
This is extremely serous, ISIL's chemical attacks are becoming more frequent and their capabilities are advancing. There needs to be an invastigation as to where they're getting this chemical expertise/capability.
KH (American) | 13/8/2015
What I had read is that ISIS is taking chlorine from water processing plants and weaponizing it. There's a field technique dating back to World War One for protecting yourself from this if you don't have proper gear - urinate on a piece of cloth and breath through it. The ammonia in urine neutralizes the chlorine. A Canadian medic first came up with it. If you don't believe me, look it up on Wikipedia. I'd much rather the Peshmerga/YPG were supplied with proper protective gear, but if nothing else that's one way to defend yourself.
Azad | 13/8/2015
Thank you for your support Germany.
folja342p9 | 13/8/2015
stay cocked locked and rock do not walk trying to supply water and procurements to hard fighters with good heart intent lefty out
guest | 14/8/2015
! Mixing ammonia with chlorine will great toxic gas that will kill you! I don't know anything about this 'urine rag' idea, but it sounds like a death trap.
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