The Associated Press (AP) said in an analysis on Tuesday that Daesh “clearly gained at least temporary breathing room” after tensions between Iran and the US escalated in the aftermath of the martyrdom of Lt. Gen. Soleimani, who was the most prominent military thinker in the regional fight against Daesh.
The US assassinated General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), on January 3. The strike that killed General Soleimani also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and a group of their companions in Baghdad. The operation was conducted on the direction of US President Donald Trump
Both commanders enjoyed deep reverence among Muslim nations over their endeavors in ending Daesh’s territorial rule in Iraq and Syria.
In retaliation, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles at Ain al-Assad air base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, which housed US forces, and another US-run base on January 8. The Pentagon announced days later that 34 troopers had received traumatic brain injuries in the attack on Ain al-Assad.
“This tension will for sure help Daesh, as all forces fighting it become busy with other matters,” Abdullah Suleiman Ali, a Syrian researcher who focuses on terrorist groups, was quoted as saying by the AP.
Suleiman Ali also said Iran-US tensions would help give the Takfiri terrorist outfit the opportunity to restructure as its new leader strengthens his grip.
The US military claimed to have killed former Daesh Takfiri chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a special operations raid in October last year.
Rami Aburrahman, who heads the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also told the AP that, “The day the American-Iranian clash began, Daesh started intensifying its attacks.”
Reports said Daesh launched a cross border attack from Syria into Iraq on January 14 and killed an Iraqi officer. A day later, the terrorist group attacked an Iraqi base in the central Salaheddine region, killing two soldiers and wounding five.
During one of its deadliest attacks in Syria on January 14, Daesh laid an ambush that led to the killing of 11 Syrian troops and pro-government forces as well as two civilians in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.
The Takfiri group is “taking advantage to boost its influence,” said Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based commentator.
“Some civilians don’t dare leave their homes after sunset because of fear of Daesh,” Abu Laila added.
Following the US assassination of the two top commanders, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill that called for the withdrawal of all US-led foreign troops from the Arab country.
Tuesday 28 January 2020 23:59