Twelve treated for chemical weapons exposure in East Mosul

Twelve treated for chemical weapons exposure in East Mosul
The Red Cross and the WHO have treated twelve people after they were reportedly exposed to a chemical weapon attack in the Iraqi forces controlled side of the city.
2 min read
05 March, 2017
Those affected were transported to Erbil hospital for treatment [AFP]
Twelve people are being treated after they were reportedly exposed to chemical weapons in East Mosul, the World Health Program (WHO) reported.

Four of these people are showing "severe signs" they were exposed to an extreme blister agent, prompting an "emergency response plan" from the UN to treat them.

"This is horrible," said the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, in a statement.

"If the use of chemical weapons is confirmed, this is a serious violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime, regardless of who the targets or the victims of the attacks are."

The Red Cross (ICRC) reported it was treating five children and two women for exposure to chemical agents. Its statement listed symptoms including blisters, redness in the eyes, irritation, vomiting and coughing.

According to the UN, there are expected to be around 750,000 people remaining in western Mosul.

"We're deeply concerned with their wellbeing and safety and their access to vital resources," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

East Mosul is currently under the control of Iraqi forces, after it was captured following 100 days of fighting in January. East Mosul still comes under mortar and rocket fire from Islamic State in West Mosul.

"Following the reported use of chemical weapons agents in East Mosul, Iraq, WHO, partners and local health authorities have activated an emergency response plan to safely treat men, women and children who may be exposed to the highly toxic chemical," the WHO said in a statement.

The use of chemical weapons is a war crime under the Geneva Protocol, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Agencies contributed to this report.