The Pentagon is denying Russian reports the U.S. dropped white phosphorus munitions on military targets in a civilian area of eastern Syria.
The chemical is used to create large smokescreens, but is also highly flammable and can burn skin right down to the bone.
“At this time, we have not received any reports of any use of white phosphorus,” Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said Sunday. “None of the military units in the area are even equipped with white phosphorus munitions of any kind.”
The Russian reports say the U.S. strikes targeted Islamic State militants near the village of Hajin. Russia says the weapons started fierce fires, but said it is unknown if there were any casualties.
The Geneva Convention outlaws using white phosphorus against civilians and military targets when civilians are nearby.