The Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should review its monitoring rules, as it failed to properly react when a suspected mustard agent was used in an attack near Mosel in which civilians were injured, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) use of chemical weapons against Mosul residents “has strangely gone unnoticed” in the West.
“But even more surprising is the lukewarm attitude of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] towards these facts,” he stated, adding that it has “made no attempts to dispatch experts to the site, nor were there any statements condemning the attack.”
Twelve civilians, including women and children, were treated for possible exposure to chemical weapons last week after IS militants shelled a residential area in west Mosul where Iraqi troops continue their advance on Islamist-held territory.
Both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN-run World Health Organization (WHO) immediately reported that the injured suffered from respiratory symptoms, blisters, redness in the eyes, irritation, vomiting, and coughing.
The ICRC strongly condemned the incident, saying the use of chemical weapons is absolutely prohibited under international humanitarian law, thus amounting to a war crime.
“We are deeply alarmed by what our colleagues have seen, and we strongly condemn any use of chemical weapons, by any party, anywhere,” said Robert Mardini, ICRC’s regional director for the Middle East.
Nonetheless, little effort has been undertaken to investigate the incident since the attack. On Friday, Iraqi UN envoy Mohamed Ali Alhakim said “there was really no evidence that Daesh [an Arabic name of IS] has used this chemical weapon,” as cited by Reuters.
Commenting on the inaction of the “international community,” Konashenkov brought up the OPCW’s lingering examination of ground samples that were collected outside Aleppo, Syria after rebel militants launched an alleged chemical weapons attack there last autumn.