Huge Cloud of Smoke Seen Billowing from Base Housing US Forces in Iraq (+Video)
- September, 28, 2021 - 17:36
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A reporter with Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese satellite TV program, captured images of a massive black plume of smoke rising from the Camp Victory military facility outside Baghdad, where US forces are known to be stationed.
The footage, filmed from a vehicle travelling along a local road, shows the black plume - stretching hundreds of meters into the sky, billowing as smaller clouds of white smoke - possibly water vapor caused by efforts to put out the fire, surround its base, Sputnik reported, adding it cannot confirm its authenticity at the moment.
Camp Victory is a major military facility situated next to the Baghdad International Airport, and served as the headquarters of US Forces in Iraq until being transferred back to Iraqi government control in 2011. The facility continues to station American troops, and has been subjected to repeated drone and rocket attacks in recent months, with the attacks believed to be targeting US forces.
In June, the Iraqi prime minister's office announced that an "outlaw group" attacked the base using three booby-trapped drones, with one of the drones said to have been shot down. In May, Camp Victory was struck by crude rockets. A month before that, it was hit in a separate rocket attack. No casualties have been reported in any of the attacks to date.
This summer, the Iraqi government and the United States signed an agreement obliging Washington to pull all combat forces out of Iraq by the end of 2021.
Some Iraqi groups have expressed dissatisfaction with the treaty, which allows for a limited contingent of US troops to stay, and have insisted that all US personnel, including trainers, intelligence officers and US Air Force personnel, leave immediately.
Between March 2020 and January 2021, the Trump administration whittled down the US's military footprint in Iraq from 5,300 to 2,500 troops, and signaled willingness to negotiate a possible complete withdrawal from the country. The Biden administration dismissed any talk of a complete pullout after stepping into office, citing the threat allegedly still posed by Daesh (ISIS or ISIL).
The US has had troops in Iraq for fifteen of the last eighteen years, having invaded the country in 2003, occupying it until 2011, and returning in 2014 when Daesh took over much of the country's north and west.