On Thursday, the United States military launched airstrikes on two locations in eastern Syria in retaliation to current assaults against US military personnel in Iraq and Syria over the previous week, according to the Department of Defense.
According to a senior U.S. defense official who spoke with News’ Jennifer Griffin, two locations near Abu Kamal that are utilized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and associated groups were the targets of two F-16s: a weapons depot and an ammunition storage area. It’s not known if Iranian militants were present at the targets when they were struck.
The United States does not seek war, but the “Iranian-backed attacks” on American forces are “unacceptable and have to stop,” according to a statement made by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday night.
Iran wishes to keep its involvement in these attacks against our forces hidden. We’re not letting them, Austin declared. If Iran’s proxies continue to attack American forces, we won’t think twice about taking the additional steps required to safeguard our citizens.
Since October 17, there have been at least 19 attacks on American bases and personnel in Iraq and Syria, including three new ones on Thursday, according to the Pentagon. According to Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, two of those assaults that targeted al-Tanf Garrison in Syria and al-Asad Airbase in Iraq with drones resulted in the injuries of twenty-one US personnel.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the exacting self-defense hits are in reaction to a string of ongoing, largely fruitless attacks that started on October 17 by Iranian-backed militia groups against American troops in Iraq and Syria.
The message was explicit: America will not accept such assaults and will protect itself, its personnel, and its interests, he said. President Joe Biden ordered the targeted strikes. Moreover, he declared that the operation was unrelated to Israel’s war with Hamas.
The ability of Iranian affiliates to attack American forces will be significantly impacted by the F-16 airstrikes, a senior defense official told the media. When asked which groups were the focus, the official replied that there is a number that goes by various acronyms, but Tehran is held accountable by the United States for providing the proxies’ financing, arming, preparing, and direction.
According to the official, the purpose of the airstrikes was to force Iran to order the militia groups to stop attacking American bases and personnel, rather than to escalate the conflict in the area.
The administration of Joe Biden has stated that it appears Tehran was unaware of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and has not accused Tehran of playing a direct role in it. However, the United States has expressed concerns that Iran and its proxies could escalate the conflict into a larger war, noting that Iran has long supported Hamas.
United States Don’t Want War
Austin stated that although the United States does not want a wider conflict, it will not think twice about defending its forces if Iranian proxy groups persist.
The safety of American personnel is President Biden’s top priority, according to Austin’s statement, even though the White House has not yet responded to the airstrikes.
Austin stated that [Biden] ordered today’s action to demonstrate that the US will not stand for such acts and will protect its people, interests, and territory.
During a Thursday night briefing, a senior U.S. defense official restated those views and stated that American forces are prepared to take similar action once more in order to maintain prevention.’