Local doctors and officials have confirmed that the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) used some sorts of chemical weapon that instantly killed Kurdish fighters during clashes in Kobanê of Rojava northeast Syria.
Kobanê Canton Health Minister Dr. Na’san Ahmed told KT in a telephone interview that seven local doctors carried out post-mortem examinations on the bodies of two Kurdish YPG fighters recently killed by ISIS and that they found traces indicating “they were killed by ISIS using chemical weapon.”
Dr. Ahmed said: “We do not have the high-tech medical equipment to determine the exact type of chemical weapon used by ISIS, but seven doctors are convinced that chemical weapon was used as the examinations found symptoms and strange white injuries on the bodies, all of which indicate that they were killed by some sorts of chemical weapon.”
The health minister urged the international medical institutions and human rights organizations to enter Kobanê and promptly investigate the case, especially when the use of chemical weapons is not an isolated incident in Syria’s civil war.
“This is a very serious matter because the preliminary results are positive and the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not an isolated occurrence. I therefore call on all international medical organizations to help us. We need experts and high-tech medical equipment to determine the exact chemicals used and we are unable to reach nearby medical teams too because of the siege,” he said.
The official commander-spokesperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG), Redur Xelil, said: “Preliminary results of the medical investigations carried out on the bodies of two martyred YPG fighters prove that ISIS used chemical weapon in Kobanê.”
In an official statement published on 14 July Xelil urged the international human rights organizations to go to Kobanê and document the use of chemical weapons by ISIS. “We urge international human rights organizations, medical institutions and the international media to come to Kobanê to investigate and document how ISIS gangs attack and use chemical weapons,” Xelil said in the statement, adding that ISIS fighters are constantly carrying out “atrocious assaults” on the besieged city and its surrounding villages.
“We call on International organizations to come and carry out an inquiry into the happenings and witness for history the non-stop atrocious assaults and the use of chemical weapons by ISIS gangs against YPG fighters as well as the people of Kobanê,” he added.
Naze Alyma, a Syrian-Armenian human rights activist who has been working in the Kurdish region for the past two years told KT in a phone call interview that it is time for the international community to take a stance “to condemn crimes against humanity being committed on daily basis by ISIS against Kurds living in Rojava of Syria.”
She said: “Human rights organizations must quickly move to Kobanê because this is a very serious incident since the use of chemical weapons is not new in Syria. Also, Kurds have been subjected to genocide by chemical weapons for instance in the town of Halabja in 1988 by Saddam Hussein regime. It could happen all over again in Kobanê at the hands of ISIS this time around as they openly call for ethnic cleansing of Rojava Kurds.”
She added: “Local human rights activists have raised the issue with their respective regional headquarters after photos of the bodies were obtained. We are now trying with some humanist, caring and brave regional activists to make our way through the intense siege but the international community is silent so far, regrettably.”
The Kurdish city of Kobanê (Ain Al-Arab) and the surrounding villages making up Kobanê Canton northeast Syria were declared liberated from Assad’s regime on 19 July 2012.
Local Kurdish parties, independent civil society organizations and politicians formed a local interim government soon afterward and on 22 January 2014 announced “democratic autonomy” along with other Kurdish provinces in Syria, despite strong opposition by the regime and extremist Islamic rebels, including Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front and ISIS.
Kobanê has been under siege by jihadists of all kinds for the past five months. The siege cut most travel routes and supply lines from and to nearby Kurdish cities and towns. Jihadists of all kinds, led by ISIS, began attacking Kobanê two months ago and the most brutal and consecutive onslaughts began earlier this month on 2 July.
However, the use of chemical weapons by ISIS against YPG fighters emerged only few days ago, when sources on the ground as well as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that YPG fighters were killed in clashes with ISIS but the bodies had no signs of gunshot and shrapnel wounds.
The following GRAPHIC photos, gathered by human rights activists in Kobanê, show the effects of the chemical weapon on martyred YPG fighters: