US Deploys Heavy Artillery To Southern Syria For First Time

the deployment will position it near the US coalition training base at Al-Tanf, which has been a flash point for clashes between the US and forces loyal to the Syrian government.
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    Members of the 17th Fires Brigade from Ft. Lewis fire two High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rockets simultaneously in a training exercise at Yakima Training Center Nov. 1, 2007 in Yakima, Wash. (The News Tribune/Peter Haley)

    Members of the 17th Fires Brigade from Ft. Lewis fire two High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rockets simultaneously in a training exercise at Yakima Training Center Nov. 1, 2007, in Yakima, Wash. (The News Tribune/Peter Haley)

    The US has moved its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) into southern Syria from Jordan for the first time, according to defense officials.

    According to CNN, the deployment will position it near the US coalition training base at Al-Tanf, which has been a flashpoint for clashes between the US and forces loyal to the Syrian government.

    The HIMARS is a truck-mounted system which can fire missiles as far as 300km and will heavily boost US military power in southern Syria.

    In May, the US-led coalition struck a convoy of military vehicles belonging to Shia militias loyal to the Syrian government near Al-Tanf.

    According to a US defense official, the pro-Assad militia convoy was heading to a remote coalition garrison near the Jordanian border.

    The US official also said the coalition air strike did not directly target the Syrian army but Shia militias who support the Syrian government which was operating in the area.

    “A convoy going down the road didn’t respond to numerous ways for it to be warned off from getting too close to coalition forces in al-Tanf,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    Although this marks the first HIMARS deployment in southern Syria, a US official told CNN that the HIMARS had previously been used to aid the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria during their campaign against the Islamic State group.

    The HIMARS has also struck IS targets in Syria from firing positions in Turkey and Jordan and has been used in Iraq to target IS there.

    Russia said on Saturday it had told the United States it was unacceptable for Washington to strike pro-government forces in Syria following the Al-Tanf attacks last month.

    Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, relayed the message to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call on Saturday initiated by the US side, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Russia said at the time that the US action would hamper efforts to find a political solution to the conflict and had violated the sovereignty of Syria, Russia’s closest Middle East ally.

    “Lavrov expressed his categorical disagreement with the US strikes on pro-government forces and called on him to take concrete measures to prevent similar incidents in future,” the ministry said.

    The two men had also exchanged assessments of the situation in Syria, it added and confirmed their desire to step up co-operation to try to end the conflict there.

    The ministry said Lavrov and Tillerson had also discussed the need to try to mend the rift between Qatar and other Arab nations through negotiations and had talked about the state of US-Russia relations and planned meetings between officials from the two countries.

    Al-Tanf, on the key highway connecting Damascus with Baghdad, has been the focus of advances by Iran-backed troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The area, also just northeast of the Jordanian border, is used by US-backed forces as a training and staging area for attacks against IS.

     © Middle East Eye


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    • MountainMan23

      The US is creating a base at Al-Tanf to break up the “Shia Crescent” from Tehran to Lebanon. Severing the ties between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah has been one of the major reasons for the US involvement in Syria. Al-Tanf is on the Syrian side of the border crossing from Iraq. That road runs from Tehran to the Mediterranean.

      • Krishna E. Bera

        That is an explanation but not a legal or moral justification.

    • tapatio

      Global Warfare: “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran”

      A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (1996)

      “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right”


      Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (2000)

      “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor (9/11 – PERFECTION). Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.” (p 63)



      Richard perle


      Paul Wolfowitz
      William Kristol
      Alvin Bernstein
      Eliot Cohen
      David Epstein
      Donald Kagan
      Fred Kagan
      Robert Kagan
      Robert Killebrew
      Steve Rosen
      Gary Schmitt
      Abram Shulsky
      Dov Zakheim


    • Patricia P. Tursi

      NOOOOO! This is a move to strengthen the war against Assad.

      • Krishna E. Bera

        The US administration does not have the constitutional right to put forces on the ground in a foreign country without Congress declaring war. This should be the impeachable offense the enemies of Trump were looking for…

        • tapatio

          That’s funny. Since 1981 there hasn’t been a day when the White House and much of Congress hasn’t defecatedd on the Constitution.

          • Krishna E. Bera

            even toilet paper can have a moment in the limelight, when used appropriately

            • tapatio

              For an elected/sworn public employee, failure to follow the law should be a felony with a draconian minimum sentence. Our Constitution is as full of holes as a sieve, but it’s all we have.

              My favorite document isn’t law, but it is, IMO, the most important……………

              Starting with Lyndon Johnson, EVERY succeeding pResident (excluding Carter) has been a wholly owned creature of the banks and corporations. Each has taken the fascism, so loved by those artificial entities, up another notch. If the 1% and its minions aren’t stopped soon, America will come full circle back to…….

              “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to ALTER or to ABOLISH it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

              • Krishna E. Bera

                what a wonderful declaration! ah if only merely reciting it could magically make it so…

                • tapatio

                  All we have to do is educate enough people and it will become so. Not entirely impossible.

                  • Krishna E. Bera

                    Maybe. Have you been tracking the number of students being arrested for distributing the Constitution in schools? Hopefully the banning of that will make reading it more popular!

                    • tapatio

                      Just in Michigan, right? That’s the only place that I know about. Lordy………when I was in grade school we had to know the gist of every article and amendment and God help the kid who couldn’t argue one side or the other of each.

                      But, Americans aren’t supposed to be anything more than taxpaying/job filling/soldiering machines today. Thought is frowned upon.