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Syria Today – CENTCOM Commander Visits Syria, Iraq Bases

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria,

The commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM) visited US bases across Iraq and Syria following an uptick in attacks against US forces in both countries. This comes as two American bases in Syria were targeted by two drone attacks. 

Drones allegedly target two US bases in Syria

Two United States military bases in Syria were targeted in the latest drone attack, IRNA reported.

According to the report, “suicide” drones targeted the Conoco gas field and the al-Omar oil field, located in eastern Syria. None of the groups claimed responsibility for the strikes. It is noted that no casualties were reported.

Last month the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed that it attacked the US occupation base in Al-Tanf in Syria with a drone.

US forces targeted 100 times in Syria, Iraq since Oct.17

American forces in Syria and Iraq have been targeted for the 100th time at their bases since October 17th, as reported by a Fox News correspondent, quoted by pro-Iran Al-Mayadeen.

A Fox News correspondent posted on X that “US forces attacked for the 100th time since October 17, the latest reportedly in Syria.”

This came after the recent targeting of the US occupation bases in al-Omar oil field and Conoco gas plant in northeastern Syria, yesterday afternoon, on Saturday.

Al Mayadeen’s correspondent in Baghdad reported on Saturday that US forces were targeted at the al-Malikiyah US occupation bases and the Conoco field in northeastern Syria. The correspondent also noted that US forces were targeted at the al-Omar oil field base in the countryside of Deir Ezzor.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq announced earlier that it conducted 11 operations against US occupation bases in Iraq and Syria in a single day. The group utilized dozens of missiles and drones in these operations.

On the other hand, earlier this month, the US Department of Defense stated that the rate of attacks against the US military in Iraq and Syria has increased by 45% since the end of November up until the beginning of December.

This comes shortly after sources told Al Mayadeen that Resistance factions targeted four US occupation bases in Syria in the past hours on December 9.

The sources mentioned that the attack included the al-Omar and Conoco bases in the countryside of Deir Ezzor, in addition to the Kharab al-Jir and al-Shadadi bases in the countryside of al-Hasakah.

Furthermore, the sources highlighted that this marks the first time that this number of bases has been targeted in such a short period.

Al Mayadeen’s correspondent in Baghdad also reported that the Islamic Resistance targeted US forces at Erbil Airport with several suicide drones.

US general visits Syria, Iraq amid persistent attacks on US forces

The commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM) visited US bases across Iraq and Syria following an uptick in attacks against US forces in both countries, The New Arab reported.

According to CENTCOM, General Michael Erik Kurilla travelled across Iraq and Syria through 13 to 14 December, visiting a number of sites including the US Embassy in Baghdad, Ain al Assad Air Base and Erbil Airfield.

CENTCOM did not specify which sites Kurilla visited in Syria, although it added that he met with both US partners and service members that are currently fighting the Islamic State group. 

During his visit in Iraq, Kurilla met with high level officials including Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, with CENTCOM noting “the leaders discussed current regional and local security concerns with a particular emphasis on the attacks against US forces”.

According to Kurilla, “These visits provide valuable insights you cannot get without traveling to the region and seeing it first-hand”.

His visit comes as attacks on US forces in both Iraq and Syria persist, with Iraqi security forces saying on Thursday that several people who fired rockets and mortars at the US embassy on 8 December had been arrested.

Some of those arrested were from within Iraq’s security forces, according to an Iraqi official speaking with AFP.

According to the Washington Institute US forces in Iraq and Syria have been targeted 115 times since October 18, mostly by groups affiliated with the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

The attacks have prompted a number of US airstrikes in retaliation, with the deadliest being a preventative strike which killed five members of the Iraqi group Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba in Kirkuk.

Rand Paul Is Absolutely Right About Getting US Troops Out of Syria

John Nichols, a national affairs correspondent for The Nation, who has written, cowritten, or edited over a dozen books on topics ranging from histories of American socialism and the Democratic Party to analyses of US and global media systems, has written an insight for The Nation. 

In his piece, Nicholas argues that Senator Rand Paul’s proposal to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, backed by a coalition of senators from both parties, underscores a significant viewpoint in the ongoing debate about American military involvement abroad. Paul, known for his stance against U.S. military adventurism and for advocating Congress’s constitutional role in overseeing military actions, presented a War Powers Resolution to end the U.S. military presence in Syria.

Although the resolution was ultimately defeated with a vote of 87 against, the support it received from a diverse group of senators, including prominent figures like Dick Durbin, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, signals a noteworthy shift. The backers of the resolution share a concern about the prolonged and unauthorized U.S. military involvement in Syria, which has largely been out of the public and policy debate spotlight, despite lasting over nine years.

The context of the U.S. presence in Syria has evolved, especially with increased tensions in the region following recent attacks and military actions involving Hamas, Israel, and Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria. These militias have targeted U.S. bases in both countries, leading to concerns about the risk of a larger conflict. The attacks have mostly resulted in minor injuries, but they highlight the volatile nature of the region and the potential for escalation.

Paul and his supporters argue that the U.S. military’s role in Syria puts American troops at risk and could drag the U.S. into another Middle Eastern conflict without proper debate or authorization from Congress. They emphasize the need for Congress to reclaim its constitutional responsibility to declare war and to openly debate the merits and risks of military deployments.

This stance reflects a broader concern about the executive branch’s expanded war-making powers and the need for legislative oversight. The debate over U.S. involvement in Syria raises fundamental questions about the objectives, risks, and constitutional authorization of American military engagements abroad.

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