U.S. destabilizes region by attacking Iraqi, Syrian groups: Iran

June 28, 2021 - 18:36

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has reacted to U.S. attacks against Resistance groups in Iraq and Syria, calling the attacks a step in the wrong direction. 

Speaking at his weekly press briefing on Monday, Saeed Khatibzadeh said, “The U.S. still continues along the wrong road in the region.”  

The U.S. Department of Defense announced airstrikes on the positions of Iraqi and Syrian groups in the border areas of Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon said in an official statement that its fighter jets had targeted two weapons depots and military installations in Syria and a position in Iraq.

“Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries,” the Pentagon statement said, claiming that the facilities have been used by Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS).

The Pentagon also said that the airstrikes were carried out at the U.S. president’s direction and were in line with the U.S. “right to self-defense.” The Pentagon also justified its move by saying that the groups targeted were “Iran-backed militia groups,” which “are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq.”

Khatibzdeh said the U.S. air raids are yet another indication that the Biden administration is following in the Trump administration’s footsteps in terms of pursuing hostile acts against Iran whether by using sanctions or regional airstrikes. 

“Unfortunately, not only in the field of imposing oppressive sanctions against the Iranian nation, but also in the field of regional behavior, we see the continuation of the failed U.S. policy and legacy in the region,” Khatibzadeh lamented. 

 ‘Sentimental behaviors’ 

He described the U.S. move as “sentimental,” calling on Washington to let the region’s people determine their destiny away from foreign interference. 

“The advice to the new administration in the United States is to change its course instead of these sentimental behaviors and instead of creating crises and living in tension and creating problems for the people of the region, it should let the people of this region decide their own destiny without their intervention,” Khatibzadeh continued. 

“What the United States is doing is disrupting regional security, and one of the victims of this disrupted regional security will be the United States itself in the region,” the spokesman pointed out. 

Syrian state news SANA reported early Monday that the border area with Iraq in the far eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor was subjected to an aerial attack by warplanes after midnight, which caused the martyrdom of a child and the injury of 3 civilians.

SANA’s reporter in Deir Ezzor, quoting local sources, stated that warplanes believed to be American attacked with missiles at around 01:00 a.m. on residential houses near the Syrian-Iraqi borders in the countryside of al-Bokmal on Monday.

The border area with Iraq in the eastern region has been subjected in previous times to more than one attack by the American occupation air force, which works to undermine the efforts of the Syrian state and its allies to enhance security and stability in the eastern region and to eliminate the remnants of Daesh (ISIS) terrorists and to prevent their infiltration between Iraq and Syria, SANA added.

Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada issued a statement confirmed that its positions were targeted by the U.S., noting that the American strikes martyred a number of fighters. “At 2:00 in the morning of Monday, on June 28, 2021, the United States of America carried out an airstrike targeting the headquarters of the Popular Mobilization Forces, the 14th Brigade stationed on the Iraqi-Syrian border, as part of the sacred national duty,” the Iraqi group said in a statement. 

Al-Jazeera quoted Iraqi security sources as saying that there were four attacks in the al-Hurra area in Bokmal, Syria, near Iraq's Anbar province, followed by explosions that may have been caused by explosions of weapons storages. The network quoted sources close to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces as saying that at least four members of Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, as well as members of the PMF, had been martyred in the attacks. The Qatari news television also quoted the Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada as saying that the forces had announced that they would henceforth enter into a “relentless war with the American occupiers” and threatened to target U.S. aircraft in Iraqi airspace.

In response to Monday's attack by U.S. fighter jets on the PMF positions, Iraqi resistance groups issued a joint statement declaring that they would not remain silent in the face of U.S. troops in Iraq and would take revenge.

“We have said before that we will not remain silent in the face of the continued presence of the American occupying forces, which is against the constitution, the decision of the parliament and the will of the Iraqi people,” the joint statement said, according to Fars News. 

The statement went on to say that the American occupying forces are continuing their crimes by attacking the PMF forces. The Iraqi resistance groups also vowed to take revenge for the fallen soldiers.

The al-Fatah faction, a parliamentary bloc close to the PMF, issued a statement leveling trenchant criticism against the U.S. for targeting the PMF positions. 

“The targeting of the PMF affiliates confirmed the futility of the U.S. presence in Iraq. The Iraqi government must immediately and without delay must act to expel the foreign troops from the country, especially the Americans,” the faction’s statement said. 

The statement went on to say that the United States seeks to maintain chaos and conflict in Iraq with these aggressions. Therefore, the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces should order an investigation into the targeting of the PMF positions, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should condemn this aggression, it added. 

Social media users in Iraq also called for the condemnation of the U.S. move.

A spokesman for the Iraqi Armed Forces Command responded by condemning the US airstrikes on the Iraqi-Syrian border and calling on everyone to calm down and avoid escalating tensions. General Yahya Rasoul said that “This U.S. airstrike is a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty and is rejected.”

He called on everyone to calm down and avoid any escalation of tensions in any way, and said that Iraq will conduct investigations, take measures and establish the necessary contacts at all levels to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

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