Despite reports that behind the scenes the Americans and Iranians are talking 'de-escalation' related to the Gaza War, facts on the ground point to anything but...
⚠️ Smoke billows from the hangars at the American base in Harir, in Irbil in northern Iraq.— Mossad Commentary (@MOSSADil) November 17, 2023
According to the reports, this was after a drone attack by the Iranian proxy. pic.twitter.com/M2IvgqgSYx
The above unverified footage, said to show the aftermath of what appears a large attack on a US base in northern Iraq, is widely circulating online Friday. It shows a huge black plume of smoke rising high above the base, as it appears either an aircraft or vehicle suffered direct hit.
"Iraq’s al-Harir airbase hosting US and international forces was targeted with an armed drone, Iraqi Kurdistan’s counter-terrorism service said in a statement on Friday," regional sources are reporting. Iranian state sources have posted the video.
Semi-official Iranian news source Mehr writes, "The video shows the moments when the Iraqi Islamic Resistance launched a drone attack on the American terrorists' base at Harir Airport located in Erbil province."
The White House has long warned it will escalate attacks on "Iranian proxies" if such attacks continue. There has so far been three waves of US airstrikes against Iran-linked targets in eastern Syria, but this supposed "deterrent" has not proven effective in stopping missiles and drones sent by regional militias.
The last 24 hours has also witnessed another Israeli attack on Damascus, for the second time in just over a week. Overnight, Syrian anti-air defenses were active after multiple strikes from Israel.
"At around 2:25 a.m. Friday, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial attack from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting a number of points in the surroundings of Damascus," a military source told the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). "The Army air defense forces responded to the missile aggression and shot down most of them, saying the damage was limited to materials."
As is typical, Western sources have described the target as a "Hezbolloah arms depot" on the outskirts of Damascus. But over the past month, Israel has also on multiple occasions attacked significant civilian sites as well, especially Damascus and Aleppo international airports.
Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad has returned to international headlines this week, after a French court issued an arrest warrant for the Syrian leader, alleging war crimes.
Just like with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, this is of course largely symbolic. Assad will certainly not travel to Europe anytime soon. France's action is summarized in the following:
French judicial authorities issued international arrest warrants for Syrian President Bashar Assad, his brother and two army generals for alleged complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity, lawyers for Syrian victims said Wednesday. They include a 2013 chemical attack on rebel-held Damascus suburbs.
A victim of the attack welcomed the move as a reminder of the horrors of Syria’s civil war, and urged countries where Assad might travel to arrest him. While he is unlikely to face trial in France, international warrants for a serving world leader are very rare, and send a strong message about Assad’s leadership at a time when some countries have welcomed him back into the diplomatic fold.
In addition to President Assad, the arrest warrants were issued for his brother, Maher Assad, the commander of the 4th Armored Division, and two Syrian army generals, Ghassan Abbas and Bassam al-Hassan, the lawyers said.
At least 8 Missiles launched by Israeli Aircraft are reported to have Struck several Positions of Iranian-Backed Forces near the Syrian Capital City of Damascus. pic.twitter.com/80J5XHoFJU— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) November 17, 2023
There's a dark irony in the timing, as it comes against the backdrop of Israel having slaughtered well over 11,000 people in Gaza. Most of these are civilians, with half estimated to be women and children. Of course, don't expect any arrest warrants to be issued for Benjamin Netanyahu or his military leadership for war crimes, even with admissions like this.