US denies carrying out strike on Iran-backed militia convoy on Syria-Iraq border

The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State terror group denied on Tuesday night it had conducted airstrikes against Iran-backed militias operating in eastern Syria near the border with Iraq, after reports claimed a number of vehicles in the area were struck.

A spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, Colonel Wayne Marotto, tweeted that the coalition “can confirm we did not conduct air strikes in Al-Bukamal, Sept. 14, 2021.”

The convoy of three vehicles was said to have belonged to the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of Iraqi militias, local media reports said.

Footage shared on social media appeared to show at least two vehicles on fire, on the Syrian side of the border.

The Lebanese al-Mayadeen news outlet, which has ties to Hezbollah, said there were no reports of casualties in the alleged strike.

The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the reported strikes, in accordance with its long-standing policy to neither confirm nor deny its activities in Syria.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011. It has targeted government troops, allied Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah.

It rarely confirms details of its operations in Syria, but says Iran’s presence in support of President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah is a threat and that it will continue its strikes.

The al-Bukamal region in Syria, near Iraq, is seen as critical to Tehran’s effort to establish a land corridor from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, and out to the Mediterranean Sea in order to more easily move weapons and fighters throughout the Middle East.

AFP contributed to this report.


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