WASHINGTON — The United States military said Thursday that it would not use chemical or biological weapons against civilians, but would consider the possibility of using them to destroy ISIS militants.
The comments came in a new report by the Defense Department, which said it would look at whether or not it could justify the use of lethal force against the extremist group, known as ISIS, in Iraq and Syria.
The Defense Department said it has received no orders for the use by the military of chemical or Biological Weapons, but that it will look at the issue and make a decision on the matter in due course.
“We are not using chemical or bio weapons in Iraq or Syria, but we are considering the use,” Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a statement.
“We will consider the issue with respect to whether or, if so, whether or in what circumstances that might be appropriate.”
The statement comes as a U.N. Security Council resolution was passed Thursday to sanction Syria for using chemical weapons in its civil war, which has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced more than half the country’s pre-war population.
President Donald Trump, who ordered airstrikes in Syria last week, has said the United States should take the threat of chemical and biological weapons to the Security Council and seek their removal.
He also has accused Syria of stockpiling them and stockpiling weapons for use in a future conflict.
While the United Nations says it has yet to confirm the use, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates have expressed concerns about the Syrian regime’s use of sarin gas.
The United States has not made a direct military threat against Syria, which is fighting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and has not carried out airstrikes against it.
The administration has said it plans to expand military action against ISIS in Syria, where it launched its campaign to oust President Bashar al-Assad in 2013.
In the weeks after the U-turn, the Trump administration said it was considering using U.T.O.s or similar weapons to fight ISIS in Iraq.
But that policy has been delayed in part because of concerns over the potential use of U.P.S., which is also a toxic gas and has a range of uses, including making bombs.
The Trump administration also has expressed concerns that the use would have unintended consequences for the U,S.
and allies in the Middle East, particularly the Iraqi government.