US attacks ‘Iranian-backed militant’ spot in Syria: Pentagon

US attacks 'Iranian-backed militant' spot in Syria: Pentagon
Illustrative: Explosions are seen in the Syrian town of Salamiyah on June 24 after an airstrike (video screenshot)

The United States military hit amenities in eastern Syria used by Iran-backed fortified groups on Thursday, saying President Joe Biden’s novel government was sending Tehran a message after current rocket attacks on US troop sites in Iraq.

In its first armed act in contradiction of Iran-backed groups, meanwhile Biden became president five weeks ago, the US Defence Division said it had carried out bombings at a Syria-Iraq boundary control point used by those groups, abolishing “numerous facilities”.

“At President Biden’s course, US armed forces prior this evening led airstrikes against infrastructure exploited by Iranian-backed confrontational groups in eastern Syria,” alleged spokesman John Kirby in a declaration.

“These attacks were sanctioned in reply to recent attacks in contradiction of American and Alliance personnel in Iraq, and to current intimidations to those personnel,” he alleged.

17 reported murdered

Kirby did not say whether there were any fatalities in Thursday’s attack.

But the Syrian Viewpoint for Human Rights alleged that 17 people were murdered after the raid hit three trucks burdened with weaponries coming from Iraq near the Syrian metropolitan of Bukamal.

The group alleged all the deceased were from Iraq’s state-sponsored Hashed al-Shaabi force, the umbrella group over many trivial paramilitaries that supposedly have stalemates to Iran.

Kirby alleged the site was used by Kataeb Hezbollah and Kataeb Sayyid al-Shuhada, two fortified Iraqi fighter groups under Hashed al-Shaabi.

Retaliation for rocket attacks

The US action trailed three rocket bouts on facilities in Iraq used by United States and alliance militaries fighting the militant Islamic State group.

One of those attacks, on a military compound in the Kurdish province’s capital Arbil on February 15, slew a civilian and an overseas contractor occupied with alliance forces, and incapacitated numerous US contractors and a soldier.

The attacks in Iraq placed a challenge to the new Biden management just as it unlocked a door to continued talks with Tehran over its supposed nuclear weaponries programme.

Last week, the administration offered dialogs with Iran controlled by European allies as it required to recover the 2015 nuclear contract, left on the edge of failure after the earlier administration of President Donald Trump withdrew from it.

But the administration has also made vibrant it would not stream “destructive activities” in the region by Iran.

Iran is supposed to be probing for an opening to retaliate the US shooting of topmost general Qasem Soleimani one year ago.

Soleimani, a senior general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Force, was Tehran’s key liaison to allied groups and figures in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere in the region.

He was slayed in a US drone attack just as he arrived in Baghdad for consultations with top Iraqi administrators.

State Department orator Ned Price said on Monday the US would “hold Iran accountable for the activities of its deputations that attack Americans” but would not “blow out” and risk destabilising Iraq.

Kirby called Thursday’s attacks “proportional” and alleged it “was conducted together with ambassadorial procedures”, including talk with US allies in the anti-IS alliance.

“The action sends a clear-cut message: President Biden will act to defend American and Coalition personnel,” he said.

“At the same time, we have responded in a cautious manner that purposes to de-escalate the complete situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,” he furthered.