Leak says Iran, allies 'plotting attack' on US occupation in Syria: WP
New explosive devices have added up to the number of casualties, particularly with the introduction of new weapons in some groups' possession such as the explosively formed penetrator, or EFP.
The Washington Post issued a report on Thursday that US intelligence officials and leaked classified papers say that Iran is plotting an offense against US occupation forces stationed in Syria.
With support from Russia and its allies, Iran is plotting to wage an attack on US troops through the armament and training of militant groups, the report claimed.
According to intel and weapons experts interviewed by the newspapers, US occupation bases have frequently been targeted by drones, and in the latest attacks, they injured six US service members and killed a so-called DoD contractor.
New explosive devices have added up to the number of casualties, particularly with the introduction of new weapons in anti-US groups' possession such as the explosively formed penetrator, or EFP.
The weapons were reportedly used by pro-Iranian militias against US troops and convoys during the US occupation of Iraq.
The leaked documents, which were part of a trove of classified material downloaded on messaging application Discord, reportedly said that officials from Iran's Quds Force unit conducted tests of one of the devices during which a tank was reportedly successfully damaged in the trial.
The data was claimed to be retrieved via interception of communications by Syrian and Lebanese individuals.
According to a second document, the US allegedly thwarted an attack that involved the use of such weaponry weapons in February when three explosive devices were seized by SDF pro-US Kurdish fighters.
"There has been a sea change in their risk-acceptance in killing Americans in Syria," said Michael Knights, an expert on Iranian-backed groups and a founder of the website Militia Spotlight. Commenting about how devastating the use of EFP bombs was during the Iraq War, he said "This will definitely kill people. And they’re thinking very hard about how to do it."
Another leaked document made mention of joint efforts by Russia, Syria, and Iran to oust US occupation forces which have been stationed in Syria since Obama's administration.
While the US maintains that the purpose of its occupation is to prevent the resurgence of ISIS, its primary goal is really to destabilize the Syrian government and counterbalance Iran and its allies' influence in the region.
The documents also revealed that Iran and its allies were preparing retaliations against Israeli airstrikes by targeting US bases in Syria.
They revealed plans of waging a popular campaign aimed at stoking protests against the presence of US troops in Syria. The scheme was reportedly conceived in November 2022 by senior Russian, Iranian, and Syria officials who had agreed then to establish a "coordination center" to discuss the matter.
Although the document pointed out there was no direct engagement of part of Russia in planning the bombing campaign, the documents indicated that Moscow assumed an active role in the plan.
Aaron Stein, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told WashPo that the creation of a joint coordination center to oust US troops in Syria is "new", and that in the event of an offense on US occupation forces, Iran and Russia would succeed with the offense as US troops would limit their retaliations to strikes against targets in Syria.
Stein added that Russia's military operation in Ukraine and the withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA agreement in 2015 made it far more difficult to predict a potential attack.
The report states that EFPs are more sophisticated than IEDs as the devices are triggered via remote sensors and use a "shaped" explosive charge to blast molten metal at high velocity on a target.
The documents also described attempts by Hezbollah to carry out tests on the EFP in Syria in January. The device was tested to be used on three-inch-thick tank armor at a range of 75 feet which it successfully damaged it.
Officials from Iran's Quds Force reportedly assisted with the design and instructing on the use of the explosive. One of the Iranian officials allegedly "identified US Humvee and Cougar armored vehicles in Syria" as targets and called to dispatch unidentified operatives to take reconnaissance photos of roads traveled by US forces, the leaked document added.
According to the report, the intent to escalate attacks against US occupation forces in Syria was confirmed by officials with special access to sensitive intel from the region. Analysts have also expressed concern over allegations that Iran was supplying weapons to Russia for purposes of military assistance.
The US has for long employed the alleged "ISIS threat" as a pretext to continue its illegal occupation of northeastern Syrian territories.
US occupation forces frequently loot oil from Syrian gas fields and transport them to other occupation bases in Iraq via illegal crossings.
The #US has built quite a reputation with its thievery skills: After #Iraq and #Afghanistan, it's #Syria's turn to fall victim to US hegemony that feeds on the wealth of other countries. pic.twitter.com/Au1I01GhLF— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) February 22, 2022
In early March, the US House of Representatives voted against legislation instructing Biden to end the US occupation of the Syrian Al-Tanf region and remove approximately 900 troops.
Currently, the US army and other foreign forces, participating in the so-called "International Coalition", occupy no less than 28 declared military sites in Syria, distributed over three governorates: Al-Hasakah (17 sites), Deir Ezzor (nine sites), and Homs (two sites).