Amid the current Israel-Hamas conflict, there are concerns about the ongoing targeting of U.S. forces stationed in Iraq and Syria by armed groups supported by Iran, and about the potential for a major escalation of attacks on U.S. forces should Israel proceed with a ground invasion of Gaza with an aim to destroying Hamas.
These attacks on U.S. forces should hardly come as a surprise, as they reflect a continuation of a trend that has been ongoing for years. It is also logical to expect an escalation in light of U.S. support for Israel both previously and during the present conflict.
Indeed, in the case of the U.S. deployment in the al-Tanf region of southeast Syria that borders Iraq, it is not unreasonable to view that deployment as essentially being a service rendered by the Americans to Israel (at least since the years of the Trump administration and continued under the Biden administration), in that the deployment is primarily about blocking a 'land-route' from Iran to Lebanon that passes through al-Tanf, rather than countering the Islamic State presence in that region (the latter being the official justification for the U.S. mission there). In other words, the U.S. presence in al-Tanf is now mainly about reducing the perceived threat of Iran and Iranian-backed groups to Israel, even if the U.S. government does not admit it publicly.
Despite all the concerns about the actual and potential targeting of U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, many formations in Syria that are backed and partly led by Iran continue to engage in deployments and assignments intended to combat the Islamic State in the wider 'badiya' region of Syria that encompasses the central deserts and steppes. That insurgency, while prone to being exaggerated by some observers, poses some problems for the Syrian government and its allies. Recently, a fighter from the 313 Force- one of the Iranian-backed formations in Syria- was killed in the Ithriya region, which is part of the badiya. This fighter's name was Wesam Ali Ghareb and I document his life below.
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