The leadership of the Islamist rebel group, Jaish al-Islam, has admitted to use “forbidden weapons” in a battle against Kurdish fighters yesterday in a statement released early this morning: “During the clashes one of the Jaish al-Islam brigade leaders used [weapons] forbidden in this kind of confrontations.”
While Jaish al-Islam did not specify which forbidden arsenal the group was referring to, this statement comes as rebels reportedly carried out a chemical gas attack through shelling on the Kurdish-held Sheikh Maqsood district in Aleppo yesterday.
However, the Jaish al-Islam spokesman said the brigade commander had “been disciplined” and that the rebel group found the use of such weapons “unacceptable”.
The brigade commander was – according to the Jaish al-Islam statement – “summoned to a military court and held accountable”.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish Red Crescent confirmed reports that chemicals were used in Sheikh Maqsood yesterday. “The symptoms of those affected by the attack such as choking made it possible to affirm that they were poisoned as a result of the use of banned toxic gases such as chlorine or other agents. All our patients have similar symptoms,” Doctor Wallat Mamu said in an interview.
YPG also confirmed that toxic agents had been used by the Islamists, according to RIA Novosti.
“We confirm the information concerning usage by Islamists, acting under patronage of Turkey, of the poisonous agent in the Maqsood neighborhood of Aleppo. Its poisonous effect have experienced dozens of civilians,” the head of the YPG central headquarters was cited as saying.
Meanwhile, the Islamist rebel group Jaysh al-Islam is formally one of the most prominent members of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) that is representing the Syrian Opposition at the Geneva talks.
Both Russia and Syria have repeatedly demanded the exclusion of Mohammed Alloush, previously known as Jaish al-Islam’s political leader, from the negotiations process.
Alloush was picked as the chief negotiator for the Syrian opposition in Geneva, which has drawn ire from Damascus and criticism from Moscow.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry has reported observing a rise in terrorist attacks in the Aleppo area over the past two weeks, which it said had killed and injured dozens of people.
“In [the] past two weeks, the number and the scale of terrorist provocations in Aleppo have grown significantly – 44 civilians have been killed and 74, including children, have been wounded as a result of these attacks,” said the ministry’s spokesman, Igor Konashenkov.
This story was originally reported by Russia Today.