Syrian Warplanes Strike in Western Iraq, Killing at Least 50 People

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Second Consecutive Day of Airstrikes by Syria Is Aimed at Shoring Up Iraqi Armed Forces.

Syrian warplanes struck targets in the western Iraqi province of Anbar on Tuesday, killing at least 50 people as foreign allies of Baghdad’s Shiite-dominated government sought to shore up the crumbling Iraqi armed forces and curb the advances of Sunni insurgents.

More than 132 other people were also wounded when bombs hit the municipal building, a market and a bank in the district of Al Rutba, according to a provincial official and Mohammed Al Qubaisi, a doctor in the district’s main hospital.

It was the second consecutive day of airstrikes by Syria, which has joined Iran in coming to the aid of the embattled Baghdad government. Tehran has deployed special forces to help protect the capital and the Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala, which Shiites revere.

In recent days, Sunni militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham have seized key towns in Anbar province, a Sunni Muslim stronghold, giving them unchecked sway over hundreds of miles of territory spanning the Iraqi-Syrian border as they fight to carve out an Islamic emirate.

Abdullah Al Shimmari, the member of the Anbar Tribal Military Council, which is aligned with ISIS, denounced Syrian-Iranian involvement in Iraq and vowed retaliation.

“We are now facing aggressive Iranian attacks at Arab hands,” Mr. Al Shimmari said. “Our response to that will be soon.”

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