Kurdish Forces Attacked With Chemical Weapons

The flag of Kurdistan

The flag of Kurdistan

Kurdish forces in Iraq were attacked with chemical weapons several days ago, the German Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

Mortar or artillery shells struck an area southwest of Irbil where Kurdish forces were being trained by German military advisers, a ministry spokesperson told AFP. While the Kurds suffered respiratory problems, the Germans were unhurt.

Germany has been supporting the Kurdish peshmerga fighters with arms shipments and weapons training since September to back the fight against ISIS extremists, and currently has about 90 personnel on the ground.

ISIS has previously been accused of using chlorine against Kurdish forces in Iraq.

In March, the autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq said it had evidence that the extremist group used chlorine in a car bomb attack on January 23.

Last month, the Conflict Armament Research group and Sahan Research group said ISIS had also targeted peshmerga with a projectile filled with an unknown chemical agent on June 21 or 22.

The chemical used had characteristics and clinical effects “consistent with a chlorine chemical agent,” the groups said.

The organizations said they had also documented two such attacks against Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh province on June 28.

It said that upon impact, the projectiles had released a yellow gas “with a strong smell of rotten onions.”

There were no deaths but troops exposed to it had experienced burning of the throat, eyes and nose, severe headaches, muscle pain, impaired concentration and mobility, and vomiting.

Turkey also began attacking Kurdish forces in late July. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, August 11 that his country’s battle against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, would continue until the group disarms.

Erdogan also said Turkey made no distinctions between terror groups, in an apparent response to claims that the government had concentrated efforts on battling the PKK, shifting away from ISIS.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeast Turkey. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.

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