US Strikes Iran Militias' Arms Stores In Syria
The United States has launched retaliatory air strikes targeting weapons and ammunition storage facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups in eastern Syria.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that this was in response to a number of drone and rocket attacks carried out by pro-Iranian militias against U.S. military bases in Iraq and Syria recently.
These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17, Austin said.
One U.S. contractor died and 21 U.S. troops were injured in these attacks, according to him.
Austin said the aerial strikes were conducted as directed by President Joe Biden “to make clear that the United States will not tolerate such attacks and will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests”.
The Defense chief warned that such counter attacks will continue if “Iran’s proxies” target U.S. forces again.
Austin made it clear that these narrowly tailored strikes in self-defense were intended solely to protect and defend U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, and are distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and do not constitute a shift in Washington’s approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Earlier, the Pentagon said U.S. and coalition forces were attacked a dozen times in Iraq and four times in Syria “by a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets”.
“We know that these groups are affiliated with Iran,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a news conference.
He announced that the U.S. is deploying about 900 troops to the Middle East to support regional deterrence efforts and further bolster U.S. force protection capabilities.
“I won’t talk specific deployment locations for these forces, I can confirm that they are not going to Israel,” he told reporters.
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