Photo Credit: Courtesy Aaron Klein
Aaron Klein

The Wall Street Journal reported that any remaining chemical stocks at the Mathanna complex were both militarily useless and sealed in bunkers.

“The only people who would likely be harmed by these chemical materials would be the people who tried to use or move them,” one military official told the Journal.

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However, some rebels fighting in Iraq might be able to safely transport chemical munitions, thanks in part to previous U.S. training.

ISIS members have also been fighting in the insurgency targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

In December 2012, CNN quoted a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats saying the U.S. and some European countries were using defense contractors at sites in Jordan and Turkey to train Syrian rebels to secure Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

Last September, the Daily Beast also reported on the plan to aid rebels in securing Assad’s chemical weapons.

In September 2013, Obama issued a memorandum to Secretary of State John Kerry calling for the U.S. to assist the rebels, including by providing protective gear against chemical weapons.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the new aid might include “defensive chemical weapons-related training and personal protective equipment to select vetted members of the Syrian opposition, including the Supreme Military Council, to protect against the use of chemical weapons.”

While such gear could be used to protect against chemical weapons attacks, the equipment could technically be utilized to transport chemical munitions.

It was not clear whether any gear or chemical weapons transport training was provided directly to ISIS, which may not be the only former Syrian insurgents fighting in Iraq.

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