US conducts air strikes against Iran-supported militia outposts in Syria
WASHINGTON (US) – In what is seen as a retaliatory measure against rocket attacks on US targets in Iraq, President Joe Biden on Thursday directed the military to carry out air strikes in eastern Syria against facilities backed by Iran.
His decision to strike only in Syria and not in Iraq has given the Iraqi administration a breather as it undertakes a probe into an attack on February 15 that left Americans wounded.
“At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, US military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilised by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
“President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,” Kirby said.
He said the air strikes destroyed facilities at a border control point used by militant groups supported by Iran and they include Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS).
An official said the decision to undertake air strikes was meant to send a message that while the US wants to punish the militias, it does not want the situation to go out of control.
Top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul said the strikes were the right move.
“Responses like this are a necessary deterrent and remind Iran, its proxies, and our adversaries around the world that attacks on U.S. interests will not be tolerated,” McCaul said.
According to Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution think tank, the strikes demonstrated that the Biden administration could negotiate with Iran on the nuclear accord while dealing with the militia supported by Tehran.
“Good move by… Biden (administration) demonstrating US can walk and chew gum at the same time,” she tweeted.