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US to deploy a mobile air defence system in Syria, Iraq

US army soldiers man an Avenger missile system positioned on a hill on 13 February 2003 in Washington, DC with the Washington Monument in the background. [Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
US army soldiers man an Avenger missile system positioned on a hill on 13 February 2003 in Washington, DC with the Washington Monument in the background. [Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

The United States intends to deploy the mobile short-range AN/TWQ-1 Avenger air defence missile system in Syria and Iraq to protect ground troops against the growing threat of drone attacks, a new report said.

The report published by Forbes said the photos circulated on social media in late February purportedly showing Avengers being transported on a highway from Iraq to Syria were likely for the mobile air defence missile systems being brought to US troops in Syria's eastern Deir Ez-Zor region.

The report said, along with its FIM-92 Stinger missile launchers, the Avenger is designed for protecting infantry against low-flying aircraft, cruise missiles, helicopters, and drones.

Until early last year, the bases hosting US forces in Iraq did not have air defence systems.

Their vulnerability was demonstrated when Iran attacked two of them with ballistic missiles in January 2020, in a retaliation for the US assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad International Airport.

Since then, Washington has deployed high-altitude MIM-104 Patriot missiles to these bases alongside short-range C-RAM (Counter-rocket, artillery and mortar) systems.

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