A preliminary investigation found ISIS used traces of chemical weapons in an Aug. 11 attack on Peshmerga forces, according to an official with Operation Inherent Resolve. Traces of sulfur mustard gas were found on fragments of mortars that were used in the attack and later handed over to US officials by Kurdish troops, said Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, the Chief of Staff for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, in an Aug. 21 Pentagon briefing. The tests are not conclusive, and it will take weeks for US investigators to definitively state that mustard gas was used in the attack, which took place near Makmur, Iraq. While the coalition already has enough reasons to fight ISIS, the use of chemical weapons shows how? “abhorrent” the group is in in tactics, Killea said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.