BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 A.M.) – Iraq’s Hashd Al-Sha’abi (var. Popular Mobilization Units) claims the U.S. military and their allies from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are preparing an operation to capture the key border crossing at the towns of Albukamal and Al-Qa’im.
The commander of Hashd Al-Sha’abi, Hashem Al-Mousawi, stated last Thursday that the U.S. Armed Forces were seeking to gain control over the Albukamal crossing in order to further isolate Iran from Lebanon.
Mousawi said the U.S. military sent a convoy of 18 armed vehicles, along with drones, to the border.
He said the purpose of this move was to provoke Hashd Al-Sha’abi into responding militarily.
Furthermore, Mousawi told Iraq’s Al-Maaloumeh News Agency that U.S. intelligence officers have been deployed to the Iraqi-Syrian border to spy on Hashd Al-Sha’abi and the Iraqi border guards.
Mousawi’s claims coincide with a new report from the Syrian Arab Army, which alleges that the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces mobilized hundreds of soldiers near the government-held towns of Al-Mayadeen and Albukamal in rural Deir Ezzor.
A Syrian Arab Army source in Deir Ezzor told Al-Masdar News over the weekend that their forces believe the U.S. is looking to take hold of the Albukamal crossing so that Iran could not link Damascus to Tehran using the international highway.
With the ongoing economic siege of Syria by western nations, which has resulted in a devastating fuel crisis, Iran has sought other ways to transport supplies and resources to Syria.
One of the ways is through the international highway, which is expected to be reopened in the coming weeks.
However, with the recent Islamic State attacks along this roadway, the reopening of the international highway may take a few months.