The U.S. military airstrikes targeted sites used by Iran-affiliated groups in Syria on Sunday in what the Pentagon said was retaliation for continued attacks against U.S. forces in the region.
The “precision strikes” targeted a training facility and a safe house near the cities of Abu Kamal and Mayadin in eastern Syria used by Iran-backed groups, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced.
Sunday’s air strikes were the third time U.S. forces have attacked Iran-linked groups in Syria in the past three weeks.
Citing a U.S. official, the Associated Press reported one of the targeted sites was used to store weapons.
The Defense Secretary said the strikes were a response to “continued attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria.”
Austin added the air strikes were ordered by President Joe Biden who “has no higher priority” than the safety of U.S. forces in the region.
The U.S. Air Force’s F-15E fighter jets were used to carry out the strikes, the New York Times reported.
50. That is the total number of attacks carried out against U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq by Iran-backed militants in the past month, the Associated Press reported. Most of the attacks have been linked to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which the AIPAC-linked Washington Institute says is an “umbrella term used to describe the operations of all Iran-backed militias in Iraq.”
The Russian Air Force carried out its own strikes on militia groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the northwestern region of the country. Russian authorities claimed the strikes killed 34 fighters and left 60 others wounded. According to Moscow, the bombing was a retaliation against the recent shelling of positions held by Assad’s forces. Russian officials also accused U.S. and coalition force of violating Syrian airspace alleging a pair of F-15 fighters, a pair of French Rafale fighters and an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone breached it five times on Sunday.
Last week, the Pentagon said it had carried out a “self-defense strike” on a weapons depot in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and affiliated groups. Another set of strikes was carried out late last month. The attacks against U.S. forces in the region have resulted in the death of at least one American contractor who suffered a “cardiac incident while sheltering in place” while more than 20 U.S. soldiers are being treated for possible traumatic brain injuries. After the first set of strikes Austin drew a line between them and the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, calling the two “separate and distinct.” American officials have continued to urge all key players in the region to avoid escalating the conflict.
U.S. Military Conducts ‘Self-Defense Strike’ In Syria As Attacks Against Service Members Increase (Forbes)
U.S. Targets Iran-Backed Groups In Syrian Airstrikes As Pentagon Calls It ‘Separate And Distinct’ From Israel-Hamas War (Forbes)