The US Military launched airstrikes on Thursday night targeting Iranian-backed militia positioned in Syria near the border with Iraq. The Pentagon released a statement claiming the strikes were in retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a US service member and other coalition troops.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 17 members of the pro-Iranian militia were killed in the US air strike.
The head of the Observatory told AFP that “the attack destroyed at least three ammunition trucks and there were many dead.”
“This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners,” the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson, John Kirby, said to The Associated Press. “The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to deescalate the overall situation in eastern Syria and Iraq,” adding that the strikes “destroyed multiple facilities at a border control point used by a number of Iranian- backed militant groups.”
“I’m confident in the target that we went after, we know what we hit,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters, referring to a rocket attack on February 15 targeting coalition forces in Erbil, Iraq that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a US service member and other coalition personnel. Another rocket attack struck a base hosting US forces north of Baghdad days later hurting at least one contractor. Rockets hit Baghdad’s Green Zone on Monday which houses the US embassy and other diplomatic missions.
“We’re confident that that target was being used by the same Shia militants that conducted the strikes.”
The Biden administration is currently working to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal which removes economic sanctions to Iran, fueling their efforts to back regional terrorism and expansionism. According to the terms of the deal, Iran will have an unrestrained nuclear weapons program by 2015.