According to Middle East news source Al Masdar News, the U.S. Coalition dropped internationally banned white phosphorus on the last tiny Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria during intense operations on Saturday evening.
American warplanes specifically dropped the white phosphorus on ISIS positions inside the Baghouz camp, which coalition statements have described as the last holdout to the “most hardened” militants, numbering in the hundreds, in Abu Kamal District of Deir Ezzor governate near the Iraqi border.
Amidst intense fighting led on the ground by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), civilians have continued to pour out of the town to escape the carnage. Sky News has put the number of people that have left the ISIS enclave over the past three months at about 40,000.
Al Masdar reports the video footage of the IUS white phosphorus attack on Islamic State positions was originally captured by ‘Ayn Al-Firat(Eye of the Euphrates) news organization on Saturday:
— SMM Syria (@smmsyria) March 2, 2019
A number of Middle East analysts also confirmed the controversial munitions use over the weekend.
Last year Russia accused the United States and its allies of repeatedly using white phosphorus in eastern Syria, which the Pentagon has denied. Use of the munition in civilian areas is banned under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and is considered by many countries a dangerous and brutal chemical weapon.
— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) March 2, 2019
In 2017 The Washington Post confirmed the United States had used it in densely populated areas in Iraq and Syria as part of counter-terror operations.
When deployed white phosphorus can cause skin to melt down to the bone, and further is able to stick to clothing and the body, continuing to burn unchecked as more particles are exposed to the air.
The chemical substance can by used in shells and grenades, similar to Napalm, and creates spontaneous explosive fire in a broad area.
Total ISIS defeat in Baghouz is considered imminent, with SDF-run make-shift front line prisons rapidly filling up with surviving and surrendering ISIS terrorists.
— Nidalgazaui (@Nidalgazaui) March 3, 2019
Meanwhile Syrian state-run SANA also made the accusation of US coalition use of the banned substance on Saturday. According to the report:
Local sources in Deir Ezzor said the warplanes of the coalition fired white phosphorus bombs at al-Baghouz farms area near the Syrian-Iraqi borders east of al-Bukamal city under the pretext of fighting Daesh, which puts the lives of hundreds of civilians and abductees detained by the terrorist organization at risk.
The sources said that the presence of SDF militias and US occupation forces in the area, which hinder the movement of civilians in neighboring areas, prevents verifying the number of victims among civilians due to the attack.
In past Syria and Iraq campaigns the US has seemed to operate with a “by any means possible” attitude when it comes to tactics like white phosphorus use in crowded areas occupied by ISIS.
Allies Russia, Iran, and Syria, however, have repeatedly called out the hypocrisy of the Pentagon deploying internationally banned chemical substances while accusing US enemies of doing the same thing.