Iran-backed militias have launched attacks on four US bases in Iraq and Syria within a 24-hour period, defying American warnings and retaliation. The strikes came after the US conducted airstrikes against Iranian targets in both countries in an attempt to deter the militias.
Al-Mayadeen news reported that the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which consists of Iranian- and Hezbollah-linked militias, claimed responsibility for the attacks. The group targeted the al-Shaddadi base in eastern Syria with two drones and launched rockets at another American base in the al-Omar oil field near Deir ez-Zor. The attack on the al-Omar base resulted in secondary explosions within the facility, while missiles were fired at an American base in Kharab al-Jir in northeastern Syria. In Iraq, the Islamic Resistance attacked the US base at al-Tanf, located near the Syrian and Jordanian borders.
These militias have been continuously carrying out strikes on US bases in Iraq and Syria since the surprise attack by Hamas fighters on Israel on October 7. The bases that were targeted on Friday and Saturday had already been struck multiple times in the preceding week, prompting the US to launch airstrikes on bases in eastern Syria. US President Joe Biden claimed that these bases were being used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its affiliated groups.
Following the airstrikes, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby issued a warning, stating that if American outposts continued to be attacked, US forces would not hesitate to take further actions in self-defense. However, the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, one of the groups within the Islamic Resistance, announced that they are willing to engage in a war of attrition against the enemy, extending for years.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi revealed that the US had sent messages to the various anti-US and anti-Israel militias in the Middle East, urging them to stand down. Raisi stated that the US received a practical and public answer on the ground. While Iran denies ordering the strikes on American bases, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian emphasized that the militias acted on their own initiative. However, he warned that if the United States continued its actions, new fronts would be opened up against the United States.
The ongoing attacks by Iran-backed militias have escalated tensions in the region and pose a threat to the stability and security of both Iraq and Syria. The defiance of American warnings and the vow to continue the strikes indicate a willingness by these groups to challenge US influence and support for Israel. The situation remains precarious, with the potential for further escalation and retaliation on all sides.
As the clashes continue, it is crucial for diplomatic efforts to be pursued in order to de-escalate the situation and find a peaceful resolution. The international community must work together to address the underlying issues and grievances that fuel these conflicts, and to promote dialogue and understanding among all parties involved. Only through meaningful engagement and negotiation can a lasting solution be achieved, bringing stability and peace to the region.