We have often heard of all kinds of phosphorus, but we do not know what it is, what is its fallout, and what the position of international treaties on its use.
White phosphorus is a weapon that burns the human body and keeps only the bones, irritating it for a short time the trachea and lung.
It is a translucent, yellowish-white waxy substance, and white phosphorus reacts with oxygen very quickly, resulting in high temperature incendiary gases and clouds of thick white smoke.
White phosphorus is deposited in the soil or deep in rivers and seas and on marine organisms such as fish, which threatens the safety of the environment and man.
In addition to being an incendiary weapon, it emits white phosphorus while igniting a dense cloud of smoke used by armies to cover up troop movements.
What is the position of international organizations and treaties on its use?
White phosphorus munitions are mainly used to make smoke screens or to set targets, but countries that fail to respect international conventions and the laws of war use them as incendiary weapons.
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons entered into force in 1983. Protocol III of the Convention prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilians. The Protocol also prohibits their use against military targets within communities unless the targets are clearly separate from civilians and if "all feasible precautions" are taken to avoid civilian casualties.
The 1980 Geneva Convention prohibits the use of white phosphorus against the civilian population or even against enemies in areas inhabited by civilians, and considers its use a war crime.
Use of phosphorus
At the end of 1916 Britain made the first phosphorus bombs. In World War II, US and Commonwealth forces used white phosphorus extensively, and the Japanese used it less frequently.
The US military used phosphorus bombs in the Vietnam War, and media reports said US forces also used them in their attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004.
The cries of the child Mohammed are crucial evidence of Turkey's use of phosphorus during its attacks
With Turkey launching attacks on northern and eastern Syria in 9 October, talk of Turkey's use of phosphorus as a weapon against civilians has begun.
However, the casualties caused by the Turkish bombing showed and confirmed Turkey's use of phosphorus. The British newspaper "The Times" published an extensive investigation highlighting further evidence condemning the Turkish regime, and proving the use of internationally prohibited incendiary phosphorus bombs by its forces. The shelling sites, as well as expert opinions and analysis results, necessitate international action to prosecute those responsible for the heinous crime and human tragedy there.
"I have seen many injuries from air strikes," doctor Abbas Mansouran, 69, who treated burn victims at al-Hasakah hospital, told The Times. "I have previous experience of the nature and shape of burns and explosions, which are usually caused by people. The air strikes, however, are different as they left deep burns, their forms and the smell they emit are completely compatible with injuries caused by incendiary chemical weapons.
One case that emerged was the case of Mohammed Hamid, who appeared-his body burned-in a video screaming.
In a report published yesterday, The Times likened the situation of Mohammed Hamid, who was screaming in pain at the impact of Turkish phosphorus at Tel Tamr Hospital, to Van Thi Kim Fook, a nine-year-old girl filmed by Nick Ott in 1972 running naked on the road in south Vietnam, screaming from the pain of burns that hit her body as a result of napalm.
Where did Turkey get the phosphorus from?
Turkey not only denied its use, but denied that it owned it, but the British newspapers have denounced it, as the British newspaper "The Times" noted that it is Turkish denial to possessing white phosphorus is baseless, stressing that Britain sold military products to Turkey containing white phosphorus and these products reached more than 70 export licenses.
According to the newspaper, military materials sold by Britain to Ankara include smoke bombs, ammunition, camouflage bombs and others. White phosphorus is not a banned chemical but must be used in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The paper pointed out that people who suffered serious burns provided compelling evidence of the use of white phosphorus in northeastern Syria last week. Mohammed Hamid, a 13-year-old Syrian Kurd, was burnt to death when his body was burned by an attack by a Turkish airliner at midnight in October 16.
Pressure to prevent investigation and criminalize Turkey
Amid a growing body of evidence that Turkey is already using white phosphorus to pave the way for its attack on northern and eastern Syria, the United Nations has launched investigations by its chemical weapons experts.
But the Times newspaper reported in early November that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had refused to investigate the Turkish army's use of white phosphorus against civilians in northern Syria.
The newspaper reported experts who preferred anonymity that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' rejection to examine samples came in the light of NATO's opposing to this step, particularly that it hopes to rebuild trust between the presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the American president Donald Trump in the coming summit of the alliance in London in next month, as the NATO is not interested in further blaming to Turkey about its recent attack on northeastern Syria.