Israeli experts say newly surfaced photographs of deceased Kurdish fighters appear to reveal the Islamic State may have previously used chemical weapons, a Middle Eastern watchdog reported Sunday.
"The evidence appears to support the contention that on at least one occasion, Islamic State forces did employ some form of chemical agent, acquired from somewhere," wrote Jonathan Spyer, author of the report in the Middle East Review of International Affairs.
Images, which show the bodies of those who fought against the Islamic State's July assault on a Syrian border town close to Kobani, appear to indicate the use of a chemical agent, according to unnamed Israeli experts who spoke with MERIA.
Experts told the watchdog that the most likely suspect is mustard gas, though confirmation based solely on the photographs is impossible.
TheBlaze has chosen not to publish most of the photos, due to their graphic nature.
Nisan Ahmed, health minister of the Kurdish authority in Kobani, said the bodies of the Kurdish fighters indicated no damage from bullets or other conventional weapons.[sharequote align="right"]"Burns and white spots on the bodies of the dead indicated the use of chemicals..."[/sharequote]
Instead, "Burns and white spots on the bodies of the dead indicated the use of chemicals, which led to death without any visible wounds or external bleeding," he said, according to MERIA.
The Middle Eastern watchdog speculated Islamic State militants may have obtained chemical agents from the Muthanna compound, a facility thought to contain chemical munitions near the captured Syrian city of Raqqa.
In this image shot through a hole in the wall of a house, in Mursitpinar, in the outskirts of Suruc, Turkey, at the Turkey-Syria border, a Turkish forces armoured vehicle patrols the border road, backdropped by a hilltop across the border in Kobani, Syria, where militants with the Islamic State group have placed their group's flag, during intesified fighting between the militants and Syrian Kurds, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
If verified, it would corroborate a 2007 CIA report which suggested the presence of weapons in the compound, Spyer noted.
He added that the "probable possession" of chemical weapons by the Islamic State "is for obvious reasons a matter of the gravest concern and should be the urgent subject of attention and investigation."
The State Department had previously downplayed concerns that the capture of the facility posed a danger, saying that it would be "difficult, if not impossible, to safely use this for military purposes or, frankly, to move it."
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