CANBERRA -- Australian forces have helped in the wake of a failed Islamic State chemical attack in west Mosul targeting an Iraqi military unit working with Australian and US military advisers.
It is not known what chemical gas was used by the militants, described as "desperate" by the Pentagon, who are trying to hold onto the northern Iraqi city, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed the presence of Australian troops during the attack and revealed no Australians suffered exposure.
"My advice right at the moment is that no Australian troops were affected by the chemical attack," Turnbull told ABC radio on Wednesday.
"Australian troops, Australian forces did provide assistance following the attack. That's my current advice received in last few minutes."
The Pentagon has told The Huffington Post Australia that it was a "low grade" chemical attack and all of the advisers have since returned to duty.
It is thought the gas could be either mustard or chlorine gas.
"The Coalition is aware of reports of a low-grade chemical attack on our partnered forces," a spokesman said in a statement.
Photojournalism on the frontline: an inside view of the battle for Mosul https://t.co/cfk5dhSecv— Sarah Turnbull (@SL_Turnbull) April 13, 2017
"The attack was largely ineffective and further displays the desperation of ISIS as they seek to hold an untenable position in Mosul.
"Coalition advisors present with the Iraqi forces were medically screened and found to not have been exposed to any chemical agent."
Turnbull says his advice is that no Australian troops were affected by the chemical attack but aust forces did provide assistance #auspol— Uma Patel (@umabp) April 18, 2017
The offensive to retake Mosul, led by the U.S. military, is now in its seventh month and has seen heavy street-to-street fighting and deadly air strikes.
Islamic State fighters are making a stand in their last strongholds in the west, but up to 600,000 civilians are still believed to remain in IS-held areas of Mosul.
Australian military advisers have escaped a mustard gas attack in Western Mosul. https://t.co/ZMvztBVBfm— Moments Australia (@MomentsAU) April 18, 2017
A Defence spokesperson late Wednesday confirmed there were no Australian injuries.
"No Australian personnel were exposed during the gas attack on Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service soldiers in Mosul," a Defence statement read.
"Australian medics at a secure base outside Mosul provided first aid to the Iraqi soldiers affected by the gas attack.
"The failed gas attack highlights Daesh's desperation as Iraqi ground forces continue operations to liberate Mosul."
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