US conducts air strikes against Iranian-backed militia facilities in Syria: Pentagon

2021-02-26 02:10:00 PM

President Joe Biden on Thursday directed US military air strikes in eastern Syria against facilities belonging to what the Pentagon said were Iran-backed militia, in a calibrated response to rocket attacks against US targets in Iraq.

Biden's decision to strike only in Syria and not in Iraq, at least for now, also gives the Iraqi government some breathing room as it carries out its own investigation of a February 15 attack that wounded Americans.“At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, US military forces earlier this evening conducted air strikes against infrastructure used by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement.

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“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,” Kirby said.He added that the strikes destroyed multiple facilities at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS).

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision to carry out the strikes was meant to send a signal that while the US wanted to punish the militias, it did not want the situation to spiral into a bigger conflict.The official added that Biden was presented with a range of options and one of the most limited responses was chosen.

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