US Carries Out Air Raids on Iran-backed Militias in Syria, Iraq

अंग्रेजी राजनीति विश्व

Monday, June 28, 2021
The United States has carried out another round of air raids against Iran-backed armed groups in Iraq and Syria, in response to drone attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq, with the militias threatening to retaliate.

In a statement on Sunday, the US military said it targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq.

It did not say whether it believed anyone was killed or injured, but the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least five fighters were killed and several others wounded.

Syria’s state-run SANA news agency said one child had been killed and that at least three other people were wounded.

The attacks came at the direction of US President Joe Biden, the second time he has ordered retaliatory attacks against Iran-backed militia since taking office five months ago. Biden last ordered limited bombing against a target in Syria in February, that time in response to rocket attacks in Iraq.

“The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message,” John Kirby, spokesman for the Pentagon, said in a statement.

Kirby said that the targets – two in Syria, one in Iraq – were selected because “these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq”.

The Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada military factions were among the “several Iran-backed militia groups” that had used the targeted facilities, Kirby added.

Threat of retaliation
The US now has 2,500 troops in Iraq, deployed as part of an international coalition to fight what remains of the ISIL (ISIS) group.

There have been more than 40 attacks against US interests in Iraq since the start of the year. The vast majority have been bombs against logistics convoys, while 14 were rocket attacks.

Two US officials, speaking to the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity, also said Iran-backed militias had carried out at least five drone attacks against facilities in Iraq used by US and coalition personnel since April.

One of the locations the US targeted on Sunday included a facility that was used to launch and recover the drones, a defence official said.

The US military used F-15 and F-16 jet fighters in the air raids and said the pilots returned safely.

The attacks came even as Biden’s administration is looking to potentially revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, known as the JCPOA. Critics have said Iran cannot be trusted and have pointed to the drone attacks as further evidence that Iran and its proxies will never accept a US military presence in Iraq or Syria.

Biden and the White House declined to comment on the attacks on Sunday.

Lawrence Korb, a former US assistant secretary of defense, says the raids could “very definitely” be seen as Biden “serving notice” on Iran.