Iran-Backed Group Claims Drone Attack On U.S. Base In Northeast Syria

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March 26, 2023

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On March 25, 2023, an Iran-backed group calling itself Liwa Al-Ghaliboun (The Brigade of Those who Prevail) claimed responsibility for the March 23 attack on the Abu Hajar Airport, near the town of Rmelan in the northeast of Syria's Al-Hasakah governorate.[1] The airport is used by the U.S. Air Force to provide air support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).[2]

In the announcement posted on its Telegram channel and signed by "Hajj Abu 'Ali," the group said that its "drone brigade" launched a drone towards the airport at 1:00 P.M. local time on March 23, the first day of Ramadan. A contractor was killed in the attack.[3]

The group declared that the attack was a "natural and legitimate" response to the 2020 U.S. assassinations of Iraqi Deputy Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and IRGC General Qasem Soleimani, and to the "barbaric and terrorist crimes" carried out by the "American occupation forces" in Iraq and the region.

The group further threatened that it will continue to carry out "precision" operations against U.S. forces and to develop new weapons, and that Americans will not enjoy security in Iraq or anywhere else, until the complete departure of U.S. forces from the country.

The claim of responsibility came at the same time as the Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades issued a statement denying any involvement in the drone attack, and as the U.S. carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed groups in eastern Syria in response to it.[4]

 

On the following day, March 26, another Iran-backed group known as the International Resistance Faction claimed responsibility for an attack against a U.S. military logistical convoy in Babylon governorate.[5] According to the group, the attack took place at 2:20 A.M. local time, damaging the convoy. The group has been carrying out regular attacks against American military convoys in Iraq in recent weeks starting on January 12, following a four-month hiatus.[6]

 

[1] Telegram, March 25, 2023.

[2] Voanews.com/U.S. Confirms Involvement in Syria Airfield Expansion, February 3, 2016.

[3] APnews/ Biden: US will Forcefully protect personnel in Syria, March 25, 2023.

[5] Telegram, March 26, 2023.


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