ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq has condemned "any" air strikes targeting forces fighting the Islamic State (IS) after Syria’s state media accused US-led coalition warplanes of striking a Syrian army target near the Iraqi border, causing multiple casualties.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Iraq's Foreign Ministry expressed "rejection and condemnation of any air operations targeting forces in areas where they are fighting ISIS [IS], whether in Iraq or Syria or any other area where there is a battlefield against this enemy that threatens humanity.”
Though the state-owned Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) declared that the US-led coalition conducted the operations, the Iraqi ministry did not specify who it has concluded the attacking force to be, if any.
The statement also called on all countries to stand together in the fight against “extremist groups,” urging an international coalition "to coordinate regularly and accurately with the forces fighting these jihadist groups as well as offering help and support."
Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias, also known as Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) on Monday announced that a US air strike on the Iraqi border with Syria killed 22 of its members and wounded 12 more.
“We believe that such strikes were an attempt to enable the enemy [IS] to control the border after the military forces liberated these areas and cleared the border,” the PMF statement read.
The Iraqi military on Monday later stated that no PMF or other Iraqi forces tasked with securing the Iraqi-Syrian border had been targeted.
The US responded, denying responsibility for the air strikes.
“Neither the US nor the coalition carried out strikes near Albu Kamal,” Pentagon Spokesperson Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
Also on Monday, CNN cited an unnamed US official who claimed Israel was behind the attack in Syria’s Albu Kamal.
When asked by Reuters about the reported air strikes, an Israeli military spokesperson said, "We do not comment on foreign reports."
Editing by John J. Catherine