The US-led Coalition is trying to capture the Abu Rida al-Baldaui airport, near the Syrian-Iraqi border, from the Iraqi Poplar Mobilization Units (PMU) in order to turn it into a military base, Kassem Musleh, commander of the PMU’s operations in the western part of the province of al-Anbar, revealed on November 18.
“U.S. forces are trying to provoke the PMU … There are movements to establish a military base in the Abu Rida al-Badaui airport, and they are currently besieging the airport,” the PMU media wing quoted Musleh as saying.
Musleh added that the US-led coalition’s attempts to control the Syrian-Iraqi border contradicts with its claims that it is only “training and advising” Iraqi government forces. The commander warned that the PMU will not tolerate the coalition’s provocations.
“The PMU will not tolerate these provocations … PMU units are on high alert and ready to face any emergency that may occur in coordination with Iraqi security forces,” Musleh said.
The Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency (IRAN) confirmed that the PMU has deployed additional units inside and around the Badu Rida al-Baldaui airport. According to the Iranian news agency, the PMU is concerned that US-led coalition troops may attempt to land in the base.
If the US-led coalition captures the airport, it will be able to observe a key route linking the Syrian governorate of Deir Ezzor with al-Anbar. The PMU, backed by Iran and the Damascus government, will not likely allow this to happen even if that lead to a military confrontation.