Acting on the instructions of U.S. President Joe Biden, the military bombed facilities in eastern Syria belonging to Iran-backed militia.
“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria. These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement.
This is the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration.
The airstrikes were carried out days after a volley of rockets targeted a U.S. military base in Irbil city, Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region. At least one civilian contractor was killed in the February 15 attack, while a U.S. service member was left wounded. Another salvo struck a base hosting U.S. forces north of Baghdad days later hurting at least one contractor. Katyusha rockets hit Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone where American and other foreign embassies are based, on Monday.
The U.S.’ retaliatory strikes specifically destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kait’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kait’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS).
“This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with Coalition partners. 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 de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,” the Pentagon reiterated.