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Iran Press TV

Drones, helicopter gunships swarm skies as US sets up new base in Iraq

Iran Press TV

Monday, 22 February 2021 11:34 AM

Swarms of helicopter gunships and drones are flying over al-Anbar as the US is setting up its second military base in western Iraq near the Syrian border, a report says.

Iraq's al-Maloumah news agency cited an unnamed security source on Monday as saying that the unusual overflights above al-Qa'im District extended as far as the border with Syria.

This is while no security breach has occurred in the area to warrant the overflights, the source said.

According to the agency, the US never notifies Iraqi security forces about its missions and Iraqi authorities are often kept in the dark about their nature and motivations behind them.

The new military base will be the second US facility in al-Anbar after the sprawling Ain al-Assad Airbase.

The new outpost lies close to a hugely strategic area where the Iraqi, Syrian, and Jordanian borders meet.

The US deployed troops to Iraq in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh. Washington and its allies retain their forces in Iraq despite Baghdad having announced the defeat of the Takfiri terrorist group in 2017.

US troops are also based across the border in al-Tanf in Syria, where militants fighting the Syrian government are reportedly trained and armed and used for operations in Iraq and elsewhere.

Over the years, there have been numerous reports about the infiltration of Daesh elements from Syria into Iraq under the protection and logistical assistance of US troops.

Commenting on the recent border developments, Abdulkhaliq al-Azzawi, a member of Iraq's parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security, said, "As far as the border with Syria does not come under control, Iraq will not be able to enjoy security and stability."

He said more than 30,000 Daesh terrorists are still in Syria with their families. "The border with Syria is still a source of threat for Iraq's security."

Daesh remnants have been staging hit and run attacks across Iraq ever since the group's defeat.

The attacks have escalated over the past year, especially since the Iraqi parliament passed a law that mandated a full withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country.

Experts say the rise in terrorist activities is apparently aimed at creating a sense of insecurity in Iraq and providing a pretext for the US to keep its troops in the country.

The Iraqi military and counter-terrorism militias have, ever since the flare-up in Daesh's violence, been trying to neutralize it, taking out many of its ringleaders in the process.

On Sunday, Iraqi news outlets said the country's Hashd al-Sha'abi or Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) had engaged in fierce firefight with Daesh remnants in the al-Tarmia District north of the capital.

Another security source said the operation led by the PMU's al-Nujaba resistance fighters had attained its intended goals and was about to end in the coming hours.

Major-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, said six Daesh terrorists, including the group's operations officer in the district, had been killed by the Iraqi fighters.

He also said the Arab country did not need US troops, having the sixth most powerful army in the region.

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