Iraqi Shiite militia heavily bombed on Syrian-Iraqi highway, first major assault on Soleimani’s forces
Exclusive: The pro-Iranian Iraqi Khatib Hezballah Shiite militia was heavily bombed on Thursday, Aug. 23 on the Syrian-Iraqi highway near the eastern Syrian town of Abu Kamal, our military sources report. On Monday, we were first to reveal that US National Security adviser John Bolton had this week discussed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a possible joint military operation by the US and Israel against Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC’s Al Qods Brigades in the Middle East, and the pro-Iranian Shiite proxy militias in Syria. The Iraqi militia hit on Thursday belonged to Soleimani’s forces in that country. The attack took place as Bolton sat down with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushov in Geneva, and was presumably meant to warn to Moscow that the US was serious about military action for ousting Iranian forces from Syria. Bolton said later that they had discussed a “series of steps” for removing Iran’s military presence from Syria. Patrushev said nothing had been decided in their talks.
DEBKAfile reported on Wednesday that Soleimani was building up strength to seize control of the Iraqi-Syrian highway and massing troops in the Western Iraqi province of Anbar. Three months ago, on June 18, the Israeli air force bombed another Iraqi militia concentration, this one at Deir ez-Zour not far from the Syrian-Iraqi border.