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Islamic State 'losing appeal' in Iraq, UN envoy

Iraqi forces have made advancements in fight against Islamic State [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 February, 2016

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As news emerges confirming IS use of chemical weapons, a UN envoy says the group is 'losing appeal' in the country.

The Islamic State group is 'losing appeal in Iraq', a UN Iraq Representative has said.

The militant group has steadily lost ground to government forces while also "losing appeal among the disenfranchised population," said Jan Kubis.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq recognised the liberation of Beiji, Sinjar and Ramadi and suggested such victories instilled hope into the people of Iraq.

However, "the threat should not be underestimated," he added.

This comes as concerning revelations by an international chemicals watchdog confirmed the use of mustard gas on Kurdish forces in Iraq twice last year.

The investigation was launched after suspicions grew when 35 Kurdish forces became ill on the battlefield in August 2015.

The chemical attack is the first of its kind since the reign of Saddam Hussein and is puzzling experts who question where they could have come from.

"I'm pretty convinced that the mustard gas IS are using in Iraq is made by them in Mosul," said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a specialist in biological and chemical warfare.

"They have all the precursors at hand from the oil industry and all the experts at hand to do it."

Speaking at a 15-nation briefing on security in Iraq, Kubis praised previous efforts by the International anti-IS coalition which he suggests can be used a framework in the continued fight to recapture remaining IS territories.

It comes after comments by an Iraqi MP highlight discontent among officials concerning US involvement in training security forces in the country.

"The international alliance does not need to train our troops because Iraqi forces are trained and qualified to fight. They have freed most provinces within the country without any help and these great victories are testament to their continued success," National Iraqi MP, Hassan Al-Kaabi told The New Arab.

Al-Kaabi, who accused the US of side-lining the Popular Mobilisation Force, demanded the Iraqi government take responsibility in liberating Iraqi lands with the help of its own troops.

"The government should not allow the US to cause agitation between the people and members of the force."

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