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Security Expert: Mustard Gas a Game-Changer in Battling ISIS

Image: Security Expert: Mustard Gas a Game-Changer in Battling ISIS
Iraqi men look at the damage following an ISIS bomb explosion that killed at least 38 people. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 06:38 PM

Reports that the Islamic State (ISIS) might have used mustard gas against civilians and other insurgents in Syria last week may be a game-changer in the ground battle with Iraqi forces, security analyst Thomas Sanderson told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

"No doubt about it," Sanderson, director and senior fellow of the Transnational Threats Project, told "Newsmax Now" host John Bachman. "The fear of chemical weapons will certainly push some people away from the battlefield.

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"We have seen very poor performance by Iraqi forces in many battles, some good performances as well, but nonetheless this is certainly something that can scare them," he added. "There's no doubt that is not lost on ISIS when they think about this.

"They can certainly hold their cards close to their chest and not give any indication as to how much of this they have and make the Iraqi security forces believe that they have it dispersed around the country and ready to be deployed," Sanderson said.

New reports surfaced this week that ISIS used the toxic gas in its attack last Friday on the city of Marea in northern Syria. A humanitarian group, the Syrian American Medical Society, disclosed the information to The New York Times, and it was confirmed by rebel forces.

A top U.S. military official said last week that preliminary tests on mortar shells showed that ISIS used mustard gas in an Aug. 11 assault against Kurdish forces in the town of Makhmour in Iraq, CBS News reports. Similar reports became public in July.

"There could be legacy weapons left over from the Iraqi forces or it could be something that they were able to get from Syrian stockpiles," Sanderson told Bachman. "None of these countries were fully honest about what they've had in the past or what they may have now.

"We just don't know where they may have sourced it — but the bottom line is if they're using it, then it's a significant change in the battlefield."

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Reports that the Islamic State (ISIS) might have used mustard gas against civilians and other insurgents in Syria last week may be a game-changer in the ground battle with Iraqi forces, security analyst Thomas Sanderson told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
Chemical Weapons
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2015-38-27
Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 06:38 PM
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