US launches airstrikes in Eastern Syria in response to recent attacks

US launches airstrikes in Eastern Syria | Credits: AP
US launches airstrikes in Eastern Syria | Credits: AP

Washington, United States: The military forces of the United States launched airstrikes on two different locations in eastern Syria, which is anticipated to be a Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, according to a recent update by the Pentagon. The attack was a response to several drone and missile attacks on US bases and people in the area that started last week.

According to the Pentagon, the US has been working to deter future aggression, which can be possibly caused by the Iranian-backed groups, possibly fueled by Israel’s war against Hamas.

Visual Representation of East Syria on Map | Credits: AP

The US wanted to strike groups supported by Iran that are suspected of attacking the US as strongly as possible to discourage future attacks. This may be influenced by Israel’s conflict with Hamas. At the same time, they want to avoid making the situation in the region worse and starting a larger conflict.

Detailed information about the targets is not officially available yet.

Attacks on the US airbase

The Pentagon further briefed that since October 17, US bases and personnel in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 12 and 4 times, respectively. Following the attack, Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder shared that in two of the assaults, around 21 US personnel were injured. The attackers used drones to target the al-Asad Airbase in Iraq and al-Tanf Garrison in Syria.

US Defense Secretary’s remark on the recent airstrike

Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary of the United States, through a statement highlighted, “Precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17,” according to the reports by AP.

East Syria | Credits: Google Images

According to him, the strikes were narrowly tailored 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.”

As per the reports by the news agency, he highlighted that the operation was separate from the war between Israel and Hamas.

Austin further mentioned that the US doesn’t want a bigger fight, but if groups backed by Iran keep causing problems, it will act to keep its troops safe.

The Pentagon stated that all the US personnel who got hurt in the attacks had minor injuries and went back to work. Also, one contractor had a heart problem and passed away while trying to stay safe from a potential drone attack.

The counter-attacks were expected. Pentagon and White House officials have been clear for the past week that the US would respond, and Ryder repeated on Thursday that it would happen and when and where will be decided by us.

Further, while interacting with the reporters, he was quoted saying, “I think we’ve been crystal clear that we maintain the inherent right of defending our troops and we will take all necessary measures to protect our forces and our interests overseas.”

The recent attacks by Iranian-linked groups followed a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital, which led to protests in several Muslim nations. Israel has been carrying out airstrikes in response to a previous attack by Hamas in southern Israel, but they denied responsibility for the al-Ahli hospital blast. The US also stated that their intelligence assessment didn’t attribute blame to Tel Aviv for the hospital explosion.

The US, including the Pentagon, has repeatedly stated that their response to any strikes is directly related to attacks on their troops and is not connected to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. They often respond to attacks on US bases with strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, as this is a routine practice.

For instance, in March, the US targeted sites in Syria used by groups linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard after an Iranian-linked attack killed a US contractor and injured seven other Americans in northeast Syria.

US officials have continuously stressed that the attacks were carried out to protect the deployed US troops who are focused on the fight against the Islamic State group.

US officials haven’t blamed Syria and Iraq for the violence in Gaza. However, Iranian officials have openly criticized the US for giving weapons to Israel, which have been used to attack Gaza and have caused civilian deaths.