The recent US strikes on Syria have resulted in a number of Iraqi causalities, Syrian and Iraqi sources confirmed without agreeing on details.
The strikes, which took place early on February 26, targeted positions of the Iranian-allied Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada right on Syria’s border with Iraq. The US said the strikes were a response to February 15 Erbil rocket attacks, which killed a civilian contractor and injured eight others including an American service member.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the strikes claimed the lives of 22 Iraqi fighters of Kataib Hezbollah and other Poplar Mobilization Units (PMU) factions.
The monitoring group’s claims were most likely exaggerated. An Iraqi official said that six PMU fighters were killed and 11 others were injured.
Meanwhile, the Sabereen News, a Telegram channel close to PMU factions, reported the death of a single PMU fighter, Sayid Rahi al-Sharifi. The channel said only two others were wounded in the strikes.
The information provided by the Sabereen News appears to be most accurate. The channel was also the only source to share photos from the strike scene.
The strikes on Syria were harshly condemned by Russia. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the strikes “illegal” and a “violation” of the international law.
“Our military was warned 4 or 5 minutes in advance. Of course, even if we talk about the de-conflicting process], as it is accepted in relations between Russian and American military personnel, it does not give anything. This is a kind of notification when a strike is already being delivered,” the minister said at a press conference in Moscow. “This concerns the military side of the matter. But in no case should it be considered in isolation from the fact that the United States is illegally in Syria, in violation of all norms of the international law, including the Security Council resolutions on a settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic.”
Iranian-backed forces, including many units of the PMU, are known to be deployed on Syria’s border with Iraq to counter ISIS cells and secure the region.
The recent US strikes on Syria will not likely deter Iranian-backed forces. On the contrary, the Sabereen News and other sources close to the PMU are already vowing a fierce response in Iraq.
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