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There is evidence suggesting that ISIS might be experimenting with chemical weapons according to an independent study.

Photographs taken by Kurds in northern Iraq in 2015 show burns and blistering on the skin, indicating use of chemical agents, reports Fox News. It says the agents used were “colourless, odourless and absorbed through the clothing.” This means that they cause burns after several hours of exposure.

The ISIS is “particularly interested in using these chemicals in confined space environments, soft targets like shopping malls and movie theatres,” says former FBI intelligence officer Timothy Gil Sr. Gil is independently researching on the use of chemical agents by ISIS for an upcoming international conference on weapons of mass destruction.

According to Gil, ISIS is using safe havens in Syria, Iraq and possibly also Libya as laboratories to study the impact of chemical agents on the battlefield. “It’s enough to use in a crude weapon that could really push the panic button,” says Gil.

Fox News cited a doctor, who was in northern Iraq in 2015 and who does not wish to be named, said that he treated many Kurdish fighters used by ISIS as “lab rats for weapons of mass destruction (WMD).” He examined several kinds of burns and illnesses that suggested that “mustard gas, precursors and neurotoxic acids were being tested.”

US government officials, however, doubt that ISIS is experimenting with some elementary chemical agents to instill fear and not really cause mass casualties.

Earlier in Jan. 2016, the Daily Star had reported that Russia sees a strong probability of use of chemical weapons by ISIS in Syria. According to the report, this was suggested by Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian foreign ministry department for non-proliferation and arms control, to RIA news agency.