Last night, two rockets struck the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The heavily fortified area houses some of the main Iraqi government offices and the US embassy. There were no immediate reports about casualties. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Earlier, Saraya Thorat Al-Ashrin Al-Thani, one of Iraq’s many anti-US groups, which have surfaced since the start of the year, released two videos claiming that these show attacks on convoys carried out using US equipment. According to the group, the attacks took place on May 20 and June 6. The impact of the attacks remains unclear.
Military bases housing US troops across Iraq and the U.S. embassy have frequently been targeted by mortar and rocket attacks over the post months. According to US officials, most of these have been carried out by Iranian-backed forces.
Iraqi-U.S. relations have been witnessing tensions since January 3 when a US drone struck a convoy at Baghdad airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces. This attack escalated tensions in the region and led to a large-scale Iranian missile attack on US military bases in Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament also demanded that the US withdraw its troops from the country. Washington rejected the demand and threatened Iraq with sanctions if it is forced to withdraw its forces.
On June 11, US and Iraqi officials will be holding another meeting to discuss the current state of Iraqi-US relations and the issue of US troop withdrawal from the country. However, it remains highly unlikely that Washington will back down from its de-facto occupation of the country.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces continue their anti-ISIS raids in eastern Homs and southern Raqqah in central Syria. According to pro-government sources, over 10 ISIS members have been neutralized in the framework of these efforts since the start of the month.
On June 10, a unit of the Syrian Army and pro-government locals blocked a US military convoy and forced it to retreat near the village of Dardara in the province of Hasakah. Separately, a US military patrol was blocked by the Russian Military Police near Qamishli. At least one US vehicle broke down when it went off road to bypass the Russians.