US strikes Syria and Iraq, 'retaliating' for attack on American army base

Air strikes occurred shortly after President Joe Biden and senior defense leaders participated in a solemn ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where they paid respects to three slain Army Reserve soldiers. (Photo/Reuters)

The American military has launched a series of air strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq as the start of retaliation for the recent deaths of three soldiers at a remote US base along Jordan- Syria border, US military said.

American forces carried out air strikes on Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Tehran-affiliated militia groups, hitting more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, the military said on Friday.

"The air strikes employed more than 125 precision munitions," US Central Command said on social media, adding that the targets included command and control and intelligence centers as well as rocket, missile and drone storage facilities belonging to militia groups and Iranian forces "who facilitated attacks against US and coalition forces."

President Joe Biden emphasised that the US response would persist. "Our retaliation commenced today and will persist at locations and times determined by us," Biden stated.

"While the United States does not pursue conflict in the Middle East or elsewhere, let it be clear to those who threaten us: Any harm inflicted upon Americans will be met with a response," the US president added.

Iraq, Syria decry strikes

Iraqi officials strongly denounced the strikes within their borders, decrying them as a breach of national sovereignty with potentially dire repercussions.

General Yehia Rasool, spokesperson for Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al Sudani, cautioned that the strikes in western Iraq, near the Syrian border, not only violated Iraq's sovereignty but also imperiled the security and stability of both Iraq and the wider region.

The Syrian regime also confirmed the US air strikes, citing multiple explosions in Deir Ezzor and a subsequent power disruption, attributing them to "American aggression" that also impacted areas along the Iraqi border in Albukamal.

"Some 18 pro-Iranian fighters have been killed" in strikes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said, with Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Strikes hit positions in western Iraq, particularly in the al Qaim sector on the border with neighbouring Syria, Iraqi security sources told the AFP news agency.

"A headquarters of the armed factions in the al Qaim area was targeted, according to preliminary information it was a small arms warehouse," an Interior Ministry official told AFP.

'Tiered response'

The air strikes occurred shortly after President Joe Biden and senior defence leaders participated in a solemn ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where they paid respects to three slain Army Reserve soldiers.

It was unclear what the next steps will be, or whether the days of US warnings have sent militia members scattering into hiding, making it more difficult to detect and strike them.

But it was evident that the recent statement released by Kataeb Hezbollah, one of the main Iran-allied militias, saying it was suspending attacks on American troops had no impact on the Biden administration's plans.

In recent days, President Biden and other high-ranking US officials have issued warnings of imminent retaliatory action against groups.

Emphasising that this response would not be a singular event but rather a series of coordinated strikes over time, they outlined plans for a "tiered response."

Notably, the strikes did not directly target Iran, with Tehran denying any involvement in the incident that took place along Jordan-Syria border.

Iran has vowed to decisively respond to any US attack that targets its territories or interests.

A statement by Iran's permanent mission to the UN warned that Tehran would respond decisively to any attack on its territory, interests or nationals outside its borders, according to the official Iranian IRNA agency.


Source: TRT