Biden orders airstrikes against Iran-backed groups in Syria following attacks near base holding US troops last week

Airstrikes by the US military targeted Iranian-backed groups in Deir ez-Zor in Syria, US Central Command said in a statement. The strikes targeted “infrastructure used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said in the statement.

“Under the direction of President Biden, U.S. military forces today conducted precision airstrikes in Deir ez-Zor, Syria. These precision strikes are intended to defend and protect U.S. forces from attacks like those of the August 15 against US personnel by Iranian-backed groups,” he added. said, referring to last week’s attack on the Green Village base near the Iraqi border. This attack caused no damage or injuries.

Biden, the statement said, “gave the direction of these strikes pursuant to his authority under Article II to protect and defend U.S. personnel by disrupting or deterring attacks by Iran-backed groups.”

Buccino told CNN that the United States had targeted a group of bunkers used for ammunition storage and logistical support by Iranian-backed groups in Syria. The U.S. military extensively monitored a total of 13 bunkers at the same compound, Buccino said, totaling more than 400 hours of surveillance.

The strike was intended to target 11 of the bunkers because the United States could not be certain the other two bunkers were empty of people, Buccino said.

But shortly before CENTCOM carried out the strike, the military signaled two more bunkers because of a small group of people nearby. Ultimately, Buccino said the army hit nine bunkers in the eastern Syrian compound.

The purpose of the strike was to destroy the bunkers, Buccino said, and according to an initial assessment no one was killed as a result.

“The strike in eastern Syria was a response to attacks by Iranian-backed groups against U.S. forces in Syria on August 15 and demonstrates our resolve to defend U.S. forces and equipment,” the general said. Erik Kurilla, Commander of US Central Command.

Although the airstrike on the bunkers was a response to the August 15 attack, Buccino said the bunkers were not used by Iran-backed militias to carry out this particular attack.

The base attacked earlier this month is home to a “small number” of coalition forces, including US service members, an official previously said. Several of the rockets failed to launch and were picked up by US-led coalition forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces. And earlier last week, several drones were repelled in an attack near the At-Tanf base in southern Syria.

At the time of the strikes last week, the coalition did not say who was responsible for either attack. However, Iran-backed militias in the region have frequently targeted US troops in Syria and Iraq.

In January, the US military carried out strikes in Syria after indirect fire posed what a US-led coalition official called an “imminent threat” to troops near Green Village.

The United States maintains about 900 troops in Syria, widely split between the At-Tanf base and the oil fields in the east of the country.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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