The US coalition operating in Syria and Iraq has condemned Iran for attacks on its bases as repeated strikes have hit sites near American forces in the region.
Maj. Gen. John W. Brennan, Jr., commander, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement that the “inaccurate and indiscriminate indirect fire attacks pose a serious threat to innocent civilians because of their lack of discrimination”.
“The Coalition reserves the right to defend itself and partner forces against any threat, and will continue to do everything within its power to protect those forces,” said Brennan. “Our Coalition continues to see threats against our forces in Iraq and Syria by militia groups that are backed by Iran. ”
After the statement, Katyusha rockets hit Iraqi military bases hosting US forces near Baghdad’s international airport and west of Baghdad on Wednesday, Iraqi military sources said.
Five rockets landed near Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts U.S. and other international forces west of Baghdad, leaving no casualties, a coalition official told Reuters on Wednesday.
The closest impact was around 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the base, the official added. Iraqi army officials told Reuters the rounds fired were Katyusha rockets.
Iraqi security sources said there were no damage or casualties in both attacks.
The Iraqi military said that it started a search operation after “outlaw elements” fired five rockets which landed near the perimeters of the air base.
While there were no immediate claims of responsibility for recent attacks, Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate for killing Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Wednesday’s attack is the second one this week targeting the base near Baghdad’s international airport after an attack by two drones was foiled on Monday.
The rocket attack near Ain al-Asad comes on day after two explosive-laden drones were also shot down on Tuesday by Iraq’s air defenses as they approached the Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts U.S. forces, west of Baghdad.
US officials in recent weeks had warned of more attacks against in Iraq and Syria, in part because of the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian general Soleimani.
Soleimani who was Iran’s top military and intelligence operator in the Middle East, organizing anti-American and anti-Israeli militant groups, was killed by a targeted US drone strike on January 3, 2020, directly ordered by former US president Donald Trump.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday that Trump must face trial for the killing or Tehran would take revenge.
Separately, the US-led coalition said its forces had been targeted with eight rounds at the Green Village in Syria over the past 24 hours and while there were no casualties, the attack did cause minor damage.
“The Iran-supported malign actors fired on the Coalition and SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) from within civilian infrastructure with no regard for civilian safety,” the coalition said in a statement.
The statement added that the coalition responded by firing six artillery rounds and had earlier carried additional strikes.
On Wednesday, pro-Iran militia fighters fired shells toward a US base in eastern Syria’s Al-Omar oil field in eastern Deir Ezzor region, causing damage but no casualties.
The attacks came as nuclear talks continued with Iran in Vienna that seem to be making some progress. Critics of the talks to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement known as JCPOA say that even if negotiations prove successful, they will not impact Iran’s aggressive behavior in the region and its network of militant proxies attacking US and allied interests.