US Strikes Iranian-Backed Facilities In Syria

The U.S. carried out strikes on two facilities in Syria, as stated by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. These facilities were known to be used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and related entities. Austin characterized this action as a matter of self-defense.

Austin released a statement, saying, “Today, at President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces conducted self-defense strikes on two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups. 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. As a result of these attacks, one U.S. citizen contractor died from a cardiac incident while sheltering in place; 21 U.S. personnel suffered from minor injuries, but all have since returned to duty.”

He concluded, “If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”

A pair of F-16s targeted two facilities near Abu Kamal, including a weapons depot and an ammunition storage area. These facilities were known to be used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups. Whether there were Iranian militants present at the time of the strikes remains unclear.

Since October 17, there have been a total of 19 attacks against American personnel in Iraq and Syria. This figure includes three recent attacks that occurred on Thursday, as reported by Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder.

U.S. officials emphasized that the strikes were carried out solely in response to the attacks against American personnel and are not linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Austin said of the strikes, “They are separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas and do not constitute a shift in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict. We continue to urge all state and non-state entities not to take action that would escalate into a broader regional conflict.”

Additionally, a high-ranking U.S. defense official mentioned that Israel was not given prior notice regarding the airstrikes.

While the White House has not yet commented on the airstrikes, Defense Secretary Austin, in his statement, underlined that President Biden’s foremost concern is the safety of U.S. personnel.

A senior U.S. defense official restated these sentiments during a briefing on Thursday night and emphasized that American forces are prepared to take similar actions for the purpose of deterrence.

As of Wednesday, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, the USS Mount Whitney, the destroyer USS Carney, the USS Carter Hall, the USS Bataan and the USS Mesa Verde are all currently in the adjacent waters.