- US said Thursday it carried out an airstrike in Syria against a structure belonging to what it said were Iran-backed militia, two officials said
- Attack was an apparent response to rocket attacks against US targets in Iraq
- Strike could be the first retaliatory move by the US following last week’s attacks and it appeared to be limited in scope, potentially lowering risk of escalation
- It was also the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration
PUBLISHED: 23:54 GMT, 25 February 2021 | UPDATED: 01:10 GMT, 26 February 2021
US carries out air strikes in Syria targeting Iranian backed militia structures
Updated 0053 GMT (0853 HKT) February 26, 2021
(CNN)The US military struck a site in Syria on Thursday used by two Iranian-backed militia groups following rocket attacks on American forces in the region in the past two weeks, according to a US official.
The strikes mark the military’s first known action under President Joe Biden. The site was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks, but were believed to be used by Iranian-backed Shia militias operating in the region.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the strikes took place “at President Biden’s direction” and were authorized not just to respond to recent attacks against American and coalition forces, but to deal with “ongoing threats to those personnel.”
Kirby said that Biden conducted the strikes after consulting with US allies, including coalition partners.
“Specifically the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian backed militant groups including Kait’ib Hezbollah and Kait’ib Sayyid al Shuhada,” Kirbry said. “The operation sends an unambiguous message; President Biden will act to protect American coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to deescalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq.”The site is believed to be used as part of a weapons smuggling operation by the militias. The strikes were carried out to degrade the ability of the groups to carry out future attacks and to send a message about the recent attacks, the US official said.close dialog