WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — ISIL’s reported use of mustard gas in Iraq and Syria underscores the urgent need to entirely destroy all stockpiles of chemical weapons as soon as possible, former Pentagon official Steven Bucci told Sputnik on Friday.
Washington believes ISIL has started producing and using chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq, the BBC reported on Friday, citing an unnamed US official.
According to the official, the US government believes that ISIL uses mustard gas, a chemical warfare agent capable of inflicting large blisters on lungs and exposed skin.
"ISIS [ISIL] has little or no misgivings about the use of all manner of horrific techniques," Bucci said on Friday. "Their use of chemical weapons… makes the imperative to destroy them completely that much more urgent."
"Some say they are manufacturing it — not that hard really – others say that it has come from captured [Syrian President Bashar] Assad stocks that were never included in what was turned over to the international monitors for destruction," he added. "Either way, it is troubling."
ISIL has recently been accused of carrying out chemical weapons attacks against Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan. In August, US officials confirmed that mustard gas had been used to attack Kurdish forces in the northern Iraqi city of Makhmour.
The United States has since opened an inquiry into the allegations of chemical agents' use, stating that it is taking the claims very seriously.
Bucci is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, a retired US Special Forces commander and served as a military assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He currently serves as Director of National Security Policy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC.