US conducts strikes on Iranian targets in Syria in response to militant attacks

Photo: CENTCOM. File photo.

The Pentagon confirmed on Thursday that the U.S. military had executed targeted strikes against two facilities located in eastern Syria, known to be utilized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups. These actions were taken in direct response to a recent wave of attacks on U.S. forces in both Iraq and Syria.

Amid escalating tensions related to the Israel-Hamas conflict, U.S. and coalition troops have come under fire on at least 19 occasions in Iraq and Syria over the past week, all attributed to Iran-backed forces.

As a result of these attacks, a total of 21 U.S. personnel have sustained minor injuries, with the majority suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement, explaining, “These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17.” President Joe Biden authorized these strikes.

Secretary Austin emphasized, “These Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. forces are unacceptable and must cease. If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces persist, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”

The strikes were carried out in Syria at approximately 4:30 a.m. on Friday (0130 GMT) near Abu Kamal, a Syrian town situated on the border with Iraq. Two F-16 fighter jets utilized precision munitions to conduct the strikes, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The targets of the strikes were identified as weapons and munitions storage facilities, as confirmed by the same U.S. official who briefed reporters in Washington.

Notably, the United States has occasionally conducted retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed forces in the region following attacks on American forces. In March, the U.S. military carried out multiple airstrikes in Syria against Iran-aligned groups in response to a drone attack that resulted in the death of an American contractor.

In a rare diplomatic move, President Biden issued a message to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, cautioning Tehran against targeting U.S. personnel in the Middle East, as announced by the White House earlier on Thursday.