Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

US Official Warns of ISIS 'Chemical Weapons Cell'

US Official Warns of ISIS 'Chemical Weapons Cell'

A USA official warns ISIS could be getting all its chemical weapons experts together in a "chemical weapons cell" in a last-ditch effort to defend its remaining territory in Syria.

The cell, according to a USA official speaking to CNN, consists of the jihadi group's most senior specialists from the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.

A new report suggests the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has formed a chemical weapons cell that is situated in Syria along the Euphrates River Valley. Rumored to be hiding somewhere in the region is ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

A U.S. official told CNN that the terror group is gathering all of its chemical weapons specialists from across the Middle East and bringing them to their new "de facto" capital within the Euphrates River Valley.

ISIS has used chemical weapons to attack US and coalition forces more than dozen times since April alone.

That stretch has become increasingly important to ISIS, particularly since the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have pushed toward Raqqa, the terror group's one-time unofficial capital. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, told CNN.

In November, defense consultancy IHS Janes reported ISIS had used chemical weapons against enemy forces at least 52 times since its rise to global prominence from January 2014 onward. "This is not something we want to see them get good at". In previous attacks, the Islamic State has sought to maximize the terror of chemical weapons, while USA and Iraqi officials downplayed the effects of low-grade chemical attacks or denied them outright.

Military officials told CNN there have been more than 15 chemical weapons attacks since April 14 in or around West Mosul. The Iraqi troops backed by the US-led worldwide coalition launched an operation to recapture Mosul in October 2016, with the eastern part of the city being liberated in January and the western remaining under the control of jihadists.

Like this: