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US troops, SDF militants stage joint military drill in eastern Syria as Iraq concerned over Daesh infiltration

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows a US military convoy on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Qamishli on February 12, 2020.

US military forces and allied militants from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have held a joint military exercise in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr near the Iraqi border, amid concerns in Baghdad over a possible release of Daesh terrorists from US-run prisons in Syria.

Local media outlets reported that dozens of American occupation soldiers and Kurdish militants participated in the joint drill, noting that the area where the training took place is close to the al-Omar oil field.

The reports added that US troops and their allies brought missile and armored units into play and used various types of ammunition during the exercise.

On Thursday, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that four American service members were being evaluated for minor injuries and possible traumatic brain injuries after two rounds of “indirect fire” hit support buildings at the Green Village in eastern Syria.

A tribal source in the area said several rockets were fired, and two landed in the area of al-Omar oil field where US forces are based in Dayr al-Zawr province.

The rockets were launched from an area west of the Euphrates River, the source said.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the United States, the Israeli regime, and their Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are spreading insecurity in the country.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in Syria for its oil.

Additionally, security conditions have been deteriorating in the SDF-controlled areas in Syria’s northern and northeastern provinces of Raqqah, Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr.

Local Syrians complain that the SDF’s constant raids have generated a state of frustration and instability, severely affecting their businesses and livelihood.

Residents accuse the US-sponsored militants of stealing crude oil and refusing to spend money on service sectors.

Local councils affiliated with the SDF also stand accused of financial corruption.

Iraq worried about possible release of Daesh leaders from US-run jails in Syria

Meanwhile, Iraq's National Security Adviser, Qassem al-Araji, has once again expressed concern about the possibility of the release of Daesh elements and leaders from prisons controlled by US-affiliated SDF militants in eastern Syria.

“More than 12,000 terrorists are being held in detention centers run by the [so-called] Syrian Democratic Forces. Daesh has made numerous attempts to break such prisons since most of the terrorist group’s leaders are incarcerated there,” Araji said on Saturday.

Araji has frequently met with US officials and United Nations envoys to stress the need to resolve the issue of the al-Hawl refugee camp in the northeastern Syrian province of al-Hasakah.

Al-Hawl camp is located 15 kilometers away from the Syrian-Iraqi border. It is the largest camp of Daesh elements, and is controlled by the US-affiliated Syrian Democratic Forces.

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