Deir Ez-Zor, Syria – The US-led coalition deployed Patriot missile defense system in areas near Koniko gas field in eastern Deir Ez-Zor in Syria, so-called “opposition” sources reported on Wednesday. The Arabic-language al-Sham channel, close to the opposition forces, reported that the US-led coalition has extended its military presence and bases near Koniko and has set barbed wire around the gas field.
In the meantime, al-Jisr newspaper, affiliated to the opposition, quoted local sources as saying that three Patriot missile shields have been deployed near Koniko, adding that Washington intends to station the air defense system in several other areas of Deir Ez-Zor too. According to sources on the ground, the US’s second-largest military base in Deir Ez-Zor is located near the Koniko oil field.
Reports said earlier this month that the US is pulling two Patriot missile batteries and some fighter aircraft out of Saudi Arabia to transfer them to another regional state. Early in May, a prominent Iraqi security expert warned of the US plan to transfer its Patriot air defense missile systems from Saudi Arabia to its bases in the Iraqi Kurdistan region and Kirkuk.
Amir Abdol Mona’am told the Arabic-language al-Ma’aloumeh news website that the US might transfer the Patriot air defense systems from Saudi Arabia to Iraq to support the ISIS terrorists against the Iraqi security and Hashd al-Shaabi (popular) forces. He added that the US is attempting to strengthen its presence in Iraq.
“The US has started the implementation of a new plan with a focus on the military bases which are not in range of the resistance forces and it is expected that the Patriot (air defense) system will be transferred from Saudi Arabia to Kirkuk or the Iraqi Kurdistan region or be used on mobile platforms in regions where terrorists are stationed,” Abdol Mona’am said.