US general vows ‘harsh’ attacks against IRGC’s Quds Force in Syria
According to recent reports, there is an unspoken Russian-Iranian decision to escalate attacks against the US in Syria in order to pressure Washington to withdraw
By News Desk - March 31 2023

(Photo credit: Iranian Presidency Office)

During a meeting with members of Congress on 29 March, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that Washington’s military in Syria should forcefully target sites belonging to the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“The United States should harshly target Iran’s Quds Force” in order to deter attacks against US bases, Milley said on Wednesday, adding that “some of these Iran-backed groups are much more aggressive than others.”

The Quds Force is the elite unit of the IRGC, which was formerly commanded by the late Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who was illegally assassinated by the US in Iraq on 3 January 2020.

“The Iranian government is a complex, large organization, and the Supreme Leader may or may not be making every single decision,” Milley said.

“We do know that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard [Corps], and specifically their Quds Force — which is a designated terrorist organization — that group there is what we need to be targeting, and targeting them very harshly over time, and that’s exactly what we plan on doing,” he added.

The US general’s remarks came in response to a question from a member of Congress about what steps Washington could take to deter future attacks against its bases in Syria.

On 23 March, a drone strike targeted the US occupation base in northeastern Hasakah’s Kharab al-Jir military airport, killing a US contractor and injuring several other US servicemen. That evening, US warplanes struck the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, targeting the Syrian military and Iranian advisors.

The following day, on 24 March, the US strikes were responded to by a missile attack on Washington’s base in the occupied Al-Omar oilfield. Later that night, the Al-Omar base and another base were heavily targeted simultaneously in a daring and unexpected operation which resulted in further casualties among US troops.

Attacks against US bases in Syria have become a regular occurrence as a result of the continued US occupation and Washington’s consistent looting of Syrian natural resources. The attacks are usually attributed to groups affiliated with or backed by the IRGC.

On 25 March, the Liwa al-Ghaliboun (Victors’ Brigade) faction, a Syrian resistance faction linked with Iran and reportedly modeled after Lebanon’s Hezbollah, released a statement claiming responsibility for the several attacks against US forces, including the strike which resulted in the death of the US contractor.

Many have suggested that attacks against US bases will continue to take place at a higher frequency.

Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on 25 March that “there is undeclared Russian-Iranian coordination to escalate against the US presence in Syria, with the aim of pressuring the US and forcing it to make a decision to withdraw from its bases in the north and east of the country.”

Milley’s comments came just two days before an Israeli strike on the Syrian capital, which was the second in 24 hours, resulted in the killing of an Iranian military advisor.

Despite Milley’s statements, a US military official said recently that Washington does not seek a war with Iran inside of Syria.

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