US troops in Syria, Iraq focused with renewed rocket and drone assaults

Rockets rained down near bases utilized by US troops in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday, marking the third straight day of such assaults for the reason that two-year anniversary of the US killing of Iranian normal Qasem Soleimani on Monday.

No one was reported injured within the barrages, which focused the US-led coalition’s website near al-Omar oilfield in Syria, Iraq’s Ayn al-Asad airbase in Anbar province and the worldwide airport in Baghdad, which homes Iraqi and coalition troops.

In Syria eight rockets landed contained in the perimeter of the Green Village base, the coalition mentioned in an announcement right this moment. Coalition troops fired six artillery rounds in response, focusing on launch websites simply exterior the close by Euphrates River valley city of al-Mayadin. 

At least 5 rockets additionally landed near Asad Airbase west of Baghdad right this moment. The coalition mentioned not one of the projectiles hit the bottom, with the closest touchdown greater than a mile away.

Iraqi safety forces mentioned they recovered a launcher and unfired 240mm rocket within the al-Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad on Wednesday morning.

A bunch calling itself Saraya Qasem al-Jabaareen claimed credit score for the tried assault on Ayn al-Asad in a written assertion launched Wednesday. The group vowed to proceed the strikes till US forces absolutely withdraw from the nation. 

The coalition’s commander, US Army Maj. Gen. John Brennan, blamed Iran-backed militias for the assault in Syria. The fusillade “caused minor damage,” the coalition mentioned in an announcement.

Coalition forces yesterday afternoon launched preemptive strikes towards “several launch sites” noticed posing “an imminent threat” near Green Village, the coalition mentioned. On Monday, US air defenses shot down explosives-laden drones near Baghdad’s airport and at Asad airbase.

During a press briefing on the Pentagon on Wednesday, spokesperson John Kirby mentioned US officers are working beneath the belief that Iran-backed militias are behind the assaults.

Armed teams supported by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have a big presence in jap Syria in assist of the federal government of Bashar al-Assad and all through Iraq’s central provinces within the wake of the struggle towards the Islamic State (IS). 

The US maintains some 2,500 army advisors and assist personnel in Iraq, most of whom are based mostly at three key headquarters, and an extra 900 troops at bases in northeastern and southern Syria.

The militias have constantly vowed to expel US forces from the area since then-US President Donald Trump ordered Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani assassinated in January 2019.

The renewed barrages observe a number of months of relative calm in Iraq following the IS struggle, although precision drone assaults regarded as carried out by the militias have continued on each side of the border

The rocket bombardments, as soon as frequent in Iraq, largely fell silent after US President Joe Biden and Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi introduced final July that the remaining US fight troops can be out of the nation by the top of 2021.

Iraq’s militias have threatened that the harassment will proceed if Washington doesn’t pull its remaining troops from the nation by the deadline. Qais al-Khazali, founding father of Iraq’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, mentioned on the time that the July announcement was “not explicit” and that it “bears ambiguity and fraud.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Soleimani’s alternative, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, renewed their vows of revenge in speeches marking the anniversary of the commander’s killing on Monday. Ghani famous in his speech that the variety of US forces has been declining within the area, consistent with the deceased IRGC commander’s targets.

A spokesperson for Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, one of the distinguished Iran-backed militias in Iraq, mentioned right this moment the newest assaults had been a “natural result” of the failure of US forces to withdraw from the nation.

The US-led coalition diminished its presence in Iraq by roughly half final yr amid the sundown of the defeat-IS mission and chronic rocket bombardments. Biden administration officers have mentioned in current months that there aren’t any plans to withdraw the remaining troops from both Iraq or Syria anytime quickly.

The newest barrages sign the return of an outdated headache for coalition officers as they work to shore up the capabilities of Iraqi and Syrian safety forces. Coalition commander John Brennan on Wednesday referred to as the assaults a “dangerous distraction” from the struggle towards remaining Islamic State sleeper cells.

Speaking to reporters on the Pentagon, spokesperson Kirby acknowledged right this moment that the drone assaults particularly in Iraq and Syria have change into “increasingly precise and increasingly lethal.”

“The threat is growing, in specificity and precision,” Kirby mentioned, including that US commanders have been “encouraged to change their own tactics, technique and procedures” to defend towards the assaults.

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