US Conducts Second Airstrikes On Iran-Backed Groups In Syria
In a decisive move to counter escalating aggression, the U.S. military executed precise airstrikes, marking the second time the US conducts second airstrikes on Iran-backed groups in Syria. The targeted facility, located in Syria's eastern region, was a known arsenal for Iran-backed militants. These hostile forces have been systematically identified as responsible for a spate of drone and rocket attacks on American troops spanning the last three weeks.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated, "Today, at President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense strike on a facility in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups." The operation involved two F-15 fighters deploying precision munitions to dismantle the warehouse in the Deir el-Zour province.
Austin further emphasized the mission's significance: "This precision self-defense strike is a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by IRGC-Quds Force affiliates. The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests."
Senior U.S. officials have not shied away from attributing blame, holding Tehran responsible for the peril faced by U.S. troops. "We hold Iran accountable for these attacks, not just the militia groups," a senior defense official explained, revealing the broader strategic intent of the airstrikes as a firm message to the Iranian leadership: "We want you to direct your proxies and militia groups to stop attacking us."
Following the Hamas terror attack on Israel, a surge of aggression from Iran-backed militants began, with American forces enduring at least 41 attacks since October 17. The attacks escalated after the U.S. initially struck two weapons and ammunition facilities in eastern Syria on October 26, used by the IRGC and its affiliates.
Acknowledging the sustained attempts on U.S. forces, a senior military official described the attackers' intent: "in all cases were taking shots at what they believed to be very large numbers of U.S. personnel with the intent of killing them." Despite the success of these initial strikes, they did not deter the continuation of assaults, leading to further action. "We just again demonstrated tonight our willingness and readiness to use military force, and no one should question the readiness of the Department of Defense with additional options to defend our forces and our interests, or President Biden's willingness to direct additional self-defense strikes," the senior defense official stated.
These incidents have resulted in injuries to U.S. service members, with Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder reported that 46 have shown signs of traumatic brain injuries and other minor wounds. Most have resumed duty, while two were sent to U.S. medical facilities in Germany.
The latest strikes, which occurred without civilian casualties or damage to infrastructure, also come as a clear admonition to Iran. "Wednesday’s strike was meant to convey a clear message to Iran that we hold it accountable for the attacks on US forces," the senior defense official said.
In the broader context of regional tensions, the U.S. is taking steps to mitigate escalation, especially considering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. "In light of heightened tensions, we have undertaken additional measures to communicate directly with Iran, Iran-aligned groups in Iraq, Lebanon, and our regional partners," a defense official declared. This approach underscores the U.S.'s unwavering commitment to self-defense and the protection of its personnel.
The U.S. has substantially increased its military presence in the Middle East, deploying two carrier strike groups, several aircraft, and about 1,200 troops equipped with advanced defense systems. "The US has fortified its bases in the region with additional Patriot batteries, and increased defensive counter air patrols to further deter attacks and defend our forces," said the senior defense official.
As the situation evolves, the U.S. maintains its right to self-defense and continues to demonstrate its capability and resolve to protect its interests and personnel against any threats in the volatile region.