(GPA) Iraq – As the Islamic State (ISIS) loses ground around Mosul, the group has carried out acts of sabotage as they flee.
In an act of desperation IS has set fire to multiple oil refineries, along with a large sulfur stockpile and mine as retribution for being kicked out of their former stronghold in Mosul. The result is a giant plume of sulfur dioxide traveling southeast across Iraq towards Baghdad.
The toxic plume is similar to the deadly gasses out off by volcano eruptions. This is potentially the deadliest non-natural sulphur dioxide plume in history.
The poison has already reached several villages and made it’s way closer to Baghdad and is so large it can be seen on satellite imagery.
Two people have already died as a result of breathing the poisonous gasses and approximately another 1,000 are being treated for breathing problems. As of last weekend, the actual fire had been almost completely extinguished but the toxic cloud still looms.
With worries about the potentially devastating toll on civilians already high during the actual battle for Mosul the after effects of the sulfur dioxide could make rebuilding the are even harder. In the future Mosul may have to deal with further devastated soil and possible contamination of water supplies. The battle for Mosul is still in its early stages but is guaranteed to have long lasting effects.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.