Anti-Daesh Coalition Strikes in Syria's Deir-ez-Zor Reportedly Targeted 'Imminent Threat'
17:35 GMT 04.01.2022 (Updated: 16:46 GMT 08.01.2023)
© US Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew BruchA U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flies over northern Iraq early in the morning of Sept. 23, 2014, after conducting airstrikes in Syria. This F-15 was a part of a large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIL targets in Syria
© US Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew Bruch
US military operations in Syria have been widely protested as violations of the country's sovereignty and a de facto partitioning of the country that denies Damascus access to its oil-rich eastern provinces.
Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), the US-led coalition against Daesh*, said on Tuesday it had carried out airstrikes against several sites in Syria that posed an "imminent threat."
According to Reuters, a coalition spokesperson said on Tuesday that strikes by an unnamed coalition partner had targeted rocket sites spotted engaging in indirect fire on Tuesday afternoon near the Green Village, a housing complex in Syria's eastern Deir-ez-Zor Governorate, near the border with Iraq. The rocket fire was reportedly aimed at the US base adjacent to the Omar Oil Field, one of the country's largest.
“Acting in self defense, coalition forces conducted a strike to eliminate the threat," a spokesperson told the BBC, noting that indirect fire poses a "a serious threat to innocent civilians because of their lack of discrimination.”
The coalition formally contains dozens of nations, but only a handful have actually engaged in combat operations, including the US and UK.
The launches come a day after the second anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who led Iran-Iraq-Syria coalition against Daesh. The US killed him in an airstrike at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq; the same strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, commander of the militia Kata'ib Hezbollah and deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).
The US has claimed that Iran controls the Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria that formed the backbone of the anti-Daesh campaign and is pushing them to attack US forces in the region, blaming them for a series of attacks on US and Iraqi bases in recent years and carrying out retaliatory strikes in response. However, those retaliatory strikes have often his forces not associated with the attacks, including strikes ordered by US President Joe Biden last year in Deir-ez-Zor that drew condemnation across the region.
Ahead of the anniversary of Soleimani's killing, Washington warned there might be an uptick on attacks on coalition forces in the region. An Iraqi security source told Sputnik several attacks have been foiled, including the downing of several small explosives-laden drones on Monday and Tuesday near US bases in central Iraq which had "Revenge for Soleimani" inscribed on the side.
The roughly 900 US forces in eastern Syria are not present with the permission of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but instead to support Kurdish militias that control much of eastern Syria in defiance of Damascus. Another 2,500 US troops are present in Iraq with the tacit permission of the Iraqi government, although the country's parliament voted to ask them to leave in January 2020, following Soleimani's killing.
*A terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries.