The US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the group and the US foiled a drone attack on a base in eastern Syria on Wednesday. The incident marked the second recent attack on US troops in Syria since President Biden bombed militia targets near the Iraq-Syria border last week.
“Our frontline forces against IS and coalition forces in the area of al-Omar oil field dealt with drone attacks,” the SDF said. The SDF said that “two unidentified rocket-propelled grenades landed on the western side of the al-Omar oil field” on Sunday.
No casualties were reported in either incident in Syria, but over in Iraq, a rocket attack on the al-Assad Air Base wounded two people. “Two personnel sustained minor injuries. Damage still be assessed. More details will be provided when become available,” Col. Wayne Marotto, the spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq, wrote on Twitter.
According to The Associated Press, a previously unknown group calling itself the “brigades to avenge al-Muhandis” took credit for the al-Assad base attack. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was the leader of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a group of mostly Shia state-sponsored militias that formed in 2014 to fight ISIS. Al-Muhandis was killed alongside Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani by a US drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020.
US facilities in Iraq have been frequently targeted by rocket attacks over the past few years. The US almost always blames PMF militias, but there are many elements in Iraq who have their own reasons to fire on the US, and Washington never provides evidence to back up its claims. There are also many factions within the PMF. Some want to deescalate the situation, while others are looking for revenge.