U.S. BLASTS IRANIAN-BACKED MILITIA FACILITIES IN SYRIA
US President Joe Biden on Thursday directed military airstrikes in eastern Syria against facilities belonging to what the Pentagon said were Iran-backed militia in a calibrated response to recent rocket attacks against US targets in Iraq, Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart reported for Reuters.
The strikes, which were first reported by Reuters, appeared to be limited in scope, potentially lowering the risk of escalation. Biden’s decision to strike only in Syria and not in Iraq, at least for now, also gives the Iraqi government some breathing room as it carries out its own investigation of a Feb. 15 attack that wounded Americans.
“At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, US military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
“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 added that the strikes destroyed multiple facilities at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS). A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the decision to carry out these strikes was meant to send a signal that while the US wanted to punish the militias, it did not want the situation to spiral into a bigger conflict.