For the second time this week, the US-led coalition and its Syrian proxies held live drills in the 55km zone around the southeastern Syrian area of al-Tanaf. The first drill was held between March 27 and 29.
“Another successful exercise by the Revolutionary Commando Army alongside the Coalition Forces. No one was hurt in these exercises and we continue to improve our readiness to keep Daesh [ISIS] from returning to the 55Km [zone],” a short press release by the Revolutionary Commando Army reads.
The US-backed group also released a video showing the coalition’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launching several rockets at supposed enemy targets as a part of the drills. The rocket system was deployed in al-Tanaf in mid-2017.
جيش مغاوير الثورة و قوات التحالف يقومان بتمرين اخر ناجح. لم يصب أحد في هذه التمارين ونواصل استعدادنا لمنع داعش من العودة إلى منطقة ال٥٥كم .#Altanf #syria #DefeatDaesh @MaghaweirThowra @lummideast pic.twitter.com/uTntXk33eU
— مغاوير الثورة (@MaghaweirThowra) March 31, 2019
More than 200 U.S. service members are currently deployed in the al-Tanaf base, which is located on a strategic highway linking the Iraqi capital of Baghdad with Damascus.
The US-led coalition claim that these live drills are aimed at deterring ISIS. However, local observers believe that the coalition is trying to intimidate the Damascus government, who has been pressuring Washington to allow more than 40,000 civilians to leave the al-Rukban camp within the 55km zone.