An Iraqi security source says an unspecified number of soldiers from the US-led forces, which is purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, has arrived at the Ain al-Asad air base housing US and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar for unknown reasons.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network that the soldiers have left their former base south of the Iraqi town of al-Qa’im, located nearly 400 kilometers northwest of the capital Baghdad and near the Syrian border, and landed at the base aboard military cargo aircraft on Monday.
The source added that the soldiers are of Norwegian, Danish and American nationalities, and that their munitions and military equipment have been transported to Ain al-Asad as well.
On January 8, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) fired a number of ballistic missiles at Ain al-Asad air base. The missile attack was in retaliation for the US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump, which assassinated Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, along with the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their companions near Baghdad International Airport on January 3.
Trump initially reported that “no Americans were harmed” but subsequent reports revealed that troops were injured in the attack, largely with concussions from the missile blasts.
On February 21, the Pentagon raised to 110 the number of US service members, who suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) following Iran’s retaliatory strike. It alleged that all of the wounded in the base attack were diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury and that 77 of them had already returned to duty.
The Pentagon further claimed that 35 others had been transported to Germany for further evaluation, 25 of whom had been sent on to the United States.
Two days after the US attack, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill demanding the withdrawal.
Later on January 9, former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.
According to a statement released by his office at the time, Abdul-Mahdi “requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement the parliament’s decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq” in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The 78-year-old politician said that Iraq rejects violation of its sovereignty, particularly the US military’s violation of Iraqi airspace in the airstrike that assassinated General Soleimani, Muhandis and their companions.
The US State Department bluntly rejected the request the following day.