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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.

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.

Source : The New Arab