Russia says US has deployed HIMARS to southeast Syria

Country Risk Russia says US has deployed HIMARS to southeast Syria Jeremy Binnie, London 16 June 2017 A HIMARS from the US Army’s 5th Battalion 3rd Field Artillery Regiment launches a GMLRS round during Exercise ‘Eager Lion’ in Jordan on 14 May. Source: US Army
The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on 15 June that the United States had deployed two M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from Jordan to Al-Tanf, a flashpoint area in southeast Syria.
Close to both the Jordanian and Iraqi borders, Al-Tanf is the location of a remote base where US-led coalition forces are supporting Syrian rebel groups that have clashed with pro-government forces advancing into the area since May.
The MoD said the HIMARS does not have the range to support the coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) offensive against Islamic State forces in Al-Raqqah and that it is “not difficult to assume” that its deployment would encourage more rebel attacks on the pro-government forces around Al-Tanf.
The US-led coalition already has carried out three strikes on pro-government forces that have entered a deconfliction zone that extends 55 km around Al-Tanf. The coalition also has said that it is using HIMARS to support the SDF’s assault on Al-Raqqah.
CNN was first to report the HIMARS deployment on 13 June, citing three US defence officials. CNN’s sources confirmed that a US Air Force F-15E shot down an Iranian Shahid-129 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that had dropped a munition near a joint rebel/coalition patrol near Al-Tanf. The coalition announced on 8 June that it had shot down an “MQ-1 like” UAV that it did not identify.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options: ihs.com/contact (248 of 288 words)