The US military launched strikes against two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed groups in response to recent attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria.
“The United States does not seek conflict and has no intention or desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against American forces are unacceptable and must stop,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Thursday evening.
Iran-backed groupsUS forces have been deployed in Iraq and Syria with a combination of drones and missiles at least 16 times since October 17, according to the Pentagon. The latest attack occurred on Thursday in Erbil, Iraq, but did not result in any casualties.
Nineteen American soldiers were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, and two others suffered minor injuries as a result of the attacks. All forces have returned to service.
An American contractor died of a heart attack while at Al-Asad Air Base last week in Iraq. In this case, the alert that triggered the shutdown was a false alarm and no attack occurred.
The escalation of attacks comes amid international concernsIts scope could expand to include a broader conflict that includes the entire Middle East.
President Biden warned on Wednesday that the United States would respond if the attacks continued.
“My warning to the Ayatollah is that if they continue to move against those forces, we will respond, and he has to be prepared,” Biden said. “It has nothing to do with Israel.”
The retaliatory strikes are the latest actions taken by the Biden administration to deter Iranian and Iran-backed groups. During the weekend,It is intensifying its support for the Middle East region to enhance the protection of American forces. Additional forces include the USS Eisenhower carrier strike group and more air defense systems.
Thursday’s strikes are the second retaliatory measures launched by the Biden administration this year against Iranian-backed militias.
In March in the United States Precise air strikes were carried out In eastern Syria after an attack on a base hosting US and coalition forces, killing an American contractor and wounding five US service members and another American contractor.
There are approximately 900 US troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq, all as part of the mission to defeat ISIS.
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