Massive Plume of Smoke Reportedly Spotted Rising From Major US Base in Iraq - Video

© Photo : Tehran Times/twitterBillowing plumes of smoke apparently filmed at Camp Victory base near Baghdad, where U.S. troops are located
Billowing plumes of smoke apparently filmed at Camp Victory base near Baghdad, where U.S. troops are located - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.09.2021
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In July, Iraq and the US reached an agreement on the pullout of all American combat forces from the Middle Eastern nation by the end of the year. The agreement followed over a year-and-a-half of negotiations, and dozens of rocket and drone attacks on US forces. Some Shia militias have warned that they won't rest until all US troops are out.
A correspondent from Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese pan-Arabist satellite TV channel, has filmed footage of a huge black plume of smoke billowing from the Camp Victory military base outside Baghdad, where US troops 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 vapour caused by efforts to put out the fire, surround its base.
Sputnik is in the process of verifying the footage, and cannot confirm its authenticity at the moment.
String of Attacks on Camp Victory
Camp Victory is a major military facility situated next to the Baghdad International Airport, and served as the headquarters of US Forces - 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 Baghdad-allied Shia militias 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. Militias have carried out a campaign of artillery, drone and roadside bomb attacks targeting US forces, facilities and logistical convoys.
Screengrab of footage of Iraqi militia group attack on US convoy. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.08.2021
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Iraqi Militias Claim to Attack Eight US Logistics Convoys in 24 Hours
The US has cut down the number of troops it has in Iraq significantly since the unprovoked assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020, which prompted militias to begin a series of attacks on US forces in the country, and prompted Iraqi lawmakers to issue a resolution demanding the immediate and complete pullout of all foreign forces.
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)*.
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 and established a self-proclaimed 'caliphate'.
* A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
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