Syrian state media on Monday claimed that a U.S.-led coalition aircraft bombed a Syrian army position in al-Harra, near the Iraqi border, causing an unspecified number of deaths of injuries.
Reuters reported that a commander fighting in the alliance to preserve Syria’s current government, who is not Syrian, said drones that bombed Syrian military position and positions of Iraqi factions were “probably American.” He reportedly added that the airstrike had killed and injured some Iraqi fighters.
However, Major Josh Jacques, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, told Reuters, “No member of the U.S.-led coalition carried out strikes near Albu Kamal.”
In the absence of numbers from Syrian state media, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces reportedly issued a statement with numbers and said the strike left 22 of its members and wounded 12 others.
“At 22:00 last night a U.S. plane hit a fixed headquarters of the Popular Mobilisation Forces’ 45th and 46th brigades defending the border strip with Syria using two guided missiles which lead to the martyrdom of 22 fighters,” the group said in its statement.
Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces are backed by Iran and are Shi’ite Muslims.
Iran’s state-run Press TV reported that last week, in an interview with the al-Alam News Network, that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the United States was an occupying power in Syria and that Syria supports “any act of resistance, whether against terrorists or against occupying forces, regardless of their nationality.”
Assad also said that the French, Turkish, and Israeli troops present in Syria are occupying forces.
“They tell lies, they talk about chemical weapons, they talk about the bad president killing the good people, freedom, peaceful demonstrations,” Assad reportedly said.
Last month, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr similarly called the United States “an invader country” and vowed to do whatever he could to diminish America’s role in Iraq.
“The U.S. is an invader country; we do not allow it to interfere at all,” al-Sadr said in a statement before his Sayirun (“On the Move”) Coalition’s victory in the primary elections and in response to his plans to form a new government in Iraq.
Sadr is a long-time adversary of the United States.
Syria and Iraq are both dominated by heavy Iranian influence and support.