ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A spokesperson for the US-led coalition on Monday rejected reports that suggested Coalition or US forces were injured or killed. Rumors were spread by Iranian government-backed media that Islamic State (IS) militants killed or wounded Coalition forces in the town of Hasaka.
“We have no reports of any Coalition or US forces injured or killed in our region or area of responsibility,” Army Colonel Sean Ryan, Spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the US-led coalition against IS, told Kurdistan 24.
On Sunday, the semi-official Iranian government Fars News Agency quoted the pro-Hezbollah Al Manar News Network, suggesting that “a number of US army soldiers were killed or wounded in an IS attack on their convoy in Hasaka city in Northeastern Syria.”
According to Nicholas A. Heras, a Middle East security analyst at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, the Assad government and its allies have a great interest in undermining confidence in the Coalition forces in northern and eastern Syria.
“One means to try to achieve this goal is to conduct information operations aimed against the Coalition, trying to create a narrative that Coalition forces are unpopular with the local population and constantly under attack in northern and eastern Syria,” he told Kurdistan 24.
Furthermore, Fars News also quoted the Russian government, suggesting US forces would withdraw from the al-Tanf base.
The US and an Arab partner force maintain a position at al-Tanf, near Syria’s border with Jordan and Iraq. That force sits astride the Baghdad-Damascus highway and blocks a major potential route for Iran’s “land bridge” to the Mediterranean.
The relatively small al-Tanf garrison has sporadically come under assault from shadowy, hostile forces.
“Iranians, and the Russians these days are pushing a lot of rumors about US forces in al-Tanf; it’s part of their plan,” Mozahem al-Saloum, the former spokesperson of Maghawir al-Thawra (MaT), the group that controls al-Tanf, stated.
“They want to find a way to push out US forces from Tanf. Their tactic is pushing a lot of rumors and propaganda,” he added.
In a statement on Monday, MaT clarified that the Russian-based Sputnik news and Iranian-backed Al-Mayadeen TV had spread reports about a false deal between Russia and the US government.
However, MaT said there was a deal with the Al-Qarytayn tribes whose fighters areto leave the deconfliction zones with their families to regime-held areas.
“The faction fighters have left Rubkan camp as have their families, and they are not currently affiliated with Coalition Forces,” MaT concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany