Saturday, July 13, 2024

US carries out air raids in Syria

US forces have launched multiple airstrikes on unspecified military installations in Syria, the Pentagon confirmed on Friday, claiming the operation was a response to recent attacks against American outposts by armed groups “affiliated with Iran.” Tehran has denied any involvement in the recent attacks on American bases in Iraq and Syria.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the “self-defense” raids, ordered by President Joe Biden, hit “two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)” and related groups, but stressed that they were not related to ongoing fighting between Israel and Palestinian fighters.

“These narrowly tailored strikes in self-defense were intended solely to protect and defend US personnel in Iraq and Syria,” he claimed in a statement, adding that the mission was “separate and distinct” from the hostilities in Gaza.

The Pentagon chief went on to declare that Washington “does not seek conflict”, but would respond to “Iranian-backed attacks against US forces”, vowing to take “further necessary measures to protect our people”.

Up to 1,000 US troops are currently deployed in Syria, occupying key oil fields and Euphrates River crossings with the support of a Kurdish-led militia. The government in Damascus has repeatedly protested that their presence violates international law.

The announcement on Thursday night came just hours after the US military announced it would deploy 900 more troops somewhere in the Middle East to shore up its “force protection capabilities”.

The Pentagon confirmed at least three more attempted drone and rocket attacks on US bases across Iraq and Syria, following a series of strikes in recent weeks. Since October 17, US troops have been targeted a total of 16 times, according to US Central Command.

Washington has also dispatched naval assets to the Middle East amid soaring regional tensions due to the latest flare-up in Gaza, including two aircraft carrier strike groups and an amphibious assault ship carrying 2,000 Marines and sailors.

Officials have stated the deployments are intended to deter Tehran and militia groups from taking part in the fighting or stoking a broader war, and Austin insisted the strikes in Syria do not mark a “shift in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict”.

Washington has accused Iran-backed militias, but admitted there is no evidence to pin blame on Tehran’s leadership for ordering the strikes.

Iran has repeatedly warned the United States against any act of mischief in the region.

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