US, Iraq Trying to Quash Coverage of ISIS Chemical Attacks

Officials Seek to Maintain Morale by Downplaying Incidents

Repeated reports of chemical weapons attacks by ISIS forces in Mosul have gone barely commented upon by US and Iraqi officials, and in many cases denied outright, which Kurdish officials say is part of a quash any major coverage of the multiple gas attacks in the past week, and any reports of casualties resulting from them.

The official responses to every chemical attack by ISIS has claimed them to be “ineffective,” or “low-grade,” and Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi insisted the chemical attacks were a myth, shrugging the incidents all off as smoke.

Iraqi intelligence sources essentially confirmed this as a specific policy of denial by the governments, saying that the current priority is to maintain the morale of the soldiers invading Mosul. Confirming that chemical weapons were being used against those troops would make their open-ended offensive harder to sustain.

Kurdish forces have been much more forthcoming about the chemical attacks they’ve come under, with a lot of reports of people injured by exposure to chlorine gas. Though indications are that similar accounts exist within the Iraqi military, policy appears to be such that such reports are being kept from the public.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of