An airstrike in eastern Syria killed 26 fighters who reportedly belonged to Iraqi paramilitary group Hashed al-Shaabi, a faction the United States says is backed by Iran. According to reports, the airstrike was carried out by coalition forces in retaliation to a deadly attack on US-led NATO troops based in Baghdad that killed two Americans and one British soldier. Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday updated its death toll and said that the airstrike was probably carried out by the coalition.
As per reports, the airstrike was carried out near the border town of Albu Kamal, which was a stronghold for ISIS since 2014. As per reports, coalition-backed forces last year expelled all the ISIS fighters from the area, however, the group still retains few sleeper cells on both sides of the border. Hardline Hashed factions have also fought alongside Syrian government forces in their efforts to quell the uprising that started after the Arab Spring in 2011.
The Coalition @CJTFOIR confirms more than 15 small rockets impacted Iraq’s Camp Taji base hosting Coalition troops, March 11 at 7:35 p.m. (Iraq Time). Assessment and investigation ongoing, follow @OIRSpox & @SecMedCell for updates. https://t.co/oNgNfCEYG7— OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III (@OIRSpox) March 11, 2020
The deadly attack on US forces in Iraq came two months after the tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated. Tensions between Tehran and Washington rose to an all-time high on January 8, when the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq that houses the US and coalition forces were hit by multiple rockets during the wee hours on Wednesday. This incident was first reported by Iranian state TV, who described it as Tehran’s revenge operation over the killing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was killed by US air raid at Baghdad's international airport on January 3, along with six others. The White House and the Pentagon confirmed the death of Iran's powerful military head by saying that the attack was directed by US President Donald Trump.