President Joe Biden has ordered the US military to launch multiple airstrikes on unidentified military installations in Syria, according to the Pentagon. The strikes were conducted in response to recent attacks on illegal American outposts by armed groups allegedly affiliated with Iran.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that the strikes were carried out in self-defense and targeted two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and related groups. He emphasized that the strikes were unrelated to the ongoing hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Austin further asserted that the US does not seek conflict but will retaliate against Iranian-backed attacks on American forces. He vowed to take further necessary measures to protect US personnel in Iraq and Syria.
Currently, approximately 1,000 US troops are deployed in Syria, occupying strategic oil fields and Euphrates River crossings with the assistance of a Kurdish-led militia. The Syrian government has persistently protested against their presence, arguing that it violates international law.
The announcement of the airstrikes came shortly after the US military announced the deployment of 900 additional troops to the Middle East to enhance its force protection capabilities. The Pentagon confirmed that there have been at least three attempted drone and rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria, following a series of strikes in recent weeks. An attack on US forces in Iraq on Thursday was thwarted. Since October 17, US troops have faced a total of 16 attacks, according to the US Central Command.
In response to escalating tensions in the region due to the Gaza conflict, Washington has also dispatched naval assets to the Middle East. This includes two aircraft carrier strike groups and an amphibious assault ship carrying 2,000 Marines and sailors. The deployments aim to deter Tehran and militia groups from participating in the fighting or escalating the conflict.
Secretary Austin emphasized that the strikes in Syria do not indicate a shift in the US approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict. He reiterated that the airstrikes were solely intended to protect and defend US personnel in the region.
In conclusion, President Biden’s order to launch airstrikes on military installations in eastern Syria is a response to recent attacks against American outposts. The US military aims to protect its personnel in Iraq and Syria while also deterring Iranian-backed attacks. The deployments of additional troops and naval assets are part of efforts to ensure force protection and prevent the escalation of conflicts in the region.