Recently, Syria and Iraq have witnessed increased chemical weapon usage. In Khan Sheikhoun, a performance was staged to accuse the Syrian government while in Iraq's Mosul, the situation is quite contrary -- the besieged ISIS militants used chemical agents chlorine and mustard gas against the Iraqi troops. ( Associated Press)
The first reports of ISIS developing chemical weapons appeared in November, 2015. Then, the AP, basing on the information of the U.S. and Iraqi intelligences, stated that the terrorists were actively developing chemical agents with the assistance of highly qualified specialists from Iraq, Syria and other Middle East states. ( Associated Press, November 15, 2015)
As known, since the IS emerged, IS has numerously used chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. In particular, the terrorists carried out a chemical attack against the Syrian army in Deir Ezzor in April 2016 and the Kurdish-held neighborhood Sheikh Maqsood in Aleppo in March and April, 2016. ( News Week)
ISIS has repeatedly used chemical agents in Mosul. In November 2016, Britain-based IHS Conflict Monitor reported that since 2014 to Nov. 2016, the Islamic State conducted least 52 chemical attacks. ( New York Times)
Initially, the terrorists used chlorine, which can be handcrafted. This agent rarely kills. Unlike chlorine, sarin and mustard gas are combat agents which require industrial environment and qualified specialists. In connection with this, according to high-ranking Iraqi and American officials, ISIS captured a laboratory at Mosul University in 2015 and used it to produce chemical weapons. ( Wall Street Journal)
In an interview to Akhbar al-An channel on Jan. 16 2017, the Syrian chemical weapons expert Nuri Primo claimed that the IS was capable of producing chemical agents in the lab.
Meanwhile, NATO members were aware of the fact the ISIS possessed chemical weapons, but recently are making efforts to conceal this information. In February 2016, CIA director John Brennan acknowledged that ISIS militants had access to the production of chemical weapons: