US President Joe Biden has justified the recent airstrikes on eastern Syria by claiming that they were a necessary response to multiple drone and rocket attacks on US forces in the region. In a letter to US lawmakers, Biden stated that the air operations were within his presidential war powers and were carried out following attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq and Syria.
The strikes specifically targeted facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups. According to the White House, the airstrikes were conducted to establish deterrence and minimize the risk of escalation and civilian casualties. The Pentagon confirmed that the strikes destroyed weapons and ammunition caches near the border town of al-Bukamal.
These airstrikes come in response to a series of attacks on American bases in Iraq and Syria since October 17. US Central Command reported a total of 16 attacks, resulting in injuries to several soldiers and the death of a civilian contractor. As a result, the US military has deployed up to 1,000 troops in Syria, stationed mainly in key oil fields and Euphrates River crossings, with the support of a Kurdish-led militia.
However, the presence of US troops in Syria has been a subject of contention, with the Syrian government repeatedly accusing the US of violating international law. Damascus argues that the US occupation of key strategic areas in Syria is illegal. Despite these objections, Washington has maintained its military presence and now justifies its recent airstrikes as necessary for self-defense.
The increased tensions in the region, which have resulted in ongoing attacks on US forces, have coincided with the renewed fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza. Both sides have suffered heavy casualties, with more than 8,000 lives lost, according to local officials. In response, the US has deployed significant military assets, including two aircraft carrier strike groups in the Mediterranean, an amphibious assault ship carrying 2,000 soldiers near the Israeli coast, and an additional 900 troops sent to undisclosed locations in the Middle East. These deployments aim to strengthen US force protection in the region and deter external actors from getting involved in the conflict in Gaza.
The Biden administration maintains that the recent airstrikes in Syria were necessary and proportionate, consistent with international law and the president’s war powers. Despite ongoing review of the operation, US officials have warned that further actions in self-defense will not be hesitated. The situation in the region remains highly volatile, and the US’s response reflects its commitment to protecting its personnel and interests in the face of continued attacks.