A fire at a sulphur plant near Mosul by ISIS terrorists has sent a poisonous gas cloud for miles across northern Iraq and into neighbouring countries.
The jihadis set fire to the al-Mishraq sulphur plant last week, creating a toxic cloud which overwhelmed many people who inhaled the gas.
Hospitals in Mosul were overwhelmed as casualties, among them children and pregnant women, reported breathing problems.
Now a satellite image from NASA has shown the spread of the sulphur cloud – covering around a quarter of Iraq and spreading into Turkey, Syria and Iran.
Simon Carn, an atmospheric scientist at Michigan Tech, told ABC News: ‘In the first few days, the fire did not appear to be particularly energetic and our preliminary observations suggest that much of the sulphur dioxide remained in the boundary layer and the lower troposphere, which accentuates the impact on air quality and health.
But he added: ‘More recently, sulphur dioxide has been lofted to higher altitudes where it may undergo long-range transport.’
The US-led coalition has provided 24,000 gas masks to Iraqi and Kurdish troops as they continue to push toward Mosul.
Ironically the news about the sulphur cloud in Iraq comes as the International Maritime Organisation set global regulations to limit the amount of sulphur emissions from ships on the high seas, laws which will come into force from 2020.
The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in London said sulphur emissions will fall from the current maximum of 3.5 percent of fuel content to 0.5 percent.
Environment campaigner Bill Hemmings: ”This is a landmark decision and we are very pleased that the world has bitten the bullet and is now tackling poisonous sulphuric fuel in 2020
‘This decision reduces the contribution of shipping to the world’s air pollution impact from about five percent down to 1.5 percent and will save millions of lives in the coming decades.’