US to send 1,500 soldiers to Iraq, Syria amid regional standoff: Report

The United States is sending 1,500 troops to Iraq and Syria, as its regional standoff with Iran-aligned groups in those countries is rapidly heating up.

A report by US outlet CBS News showed soldiers from the New Jersey Army National Guard being celebrated and honoured by New Jersey state Governor Phil Murphy before their deployment, which is reportedly their largest since 2008.

The soldiers will first head to Fort Bliss in Texas for training before going to the Middle East.

This is happening while US-opposed forces in Iraq and Syria have targeted US bases at least 130 times since the start of the war in Gaza.

The government of Syria considers US forces to be an “occupying” force, and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani stated last week that he wants a “quick” exit of US troops.

The US has occasionally retaliated against these attacks and has accused Iran of “actively facilitating” rocket and drone attacks by Iranian-backed proxy groups on its forces.

In November, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asserted in a statement that Washington “does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities”, but he added that “these Iranian-backed attacks against US forces are unacceptable and must stop”.

Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian has stated that Tehran “neither gives orders to the resistance groups across the region, nor stops them from taking decisions in their own countries based on their own interests”.

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