UPDATED: : Feb 26, 2021, 07.15 AM(IST)
President Biden directed the US military to carry out airstrikes on facilities in eastern Syria in retaliation against rocket attacks on US troop locations in Iraq.
“At President Biden’s direction, US military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” Pentagon said.
It is the first military attack carried out by the Biden administration. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 17 pro-Iran fighters were killed in the airstrikes in Syria.
According to the Pentagon, the airstrikes were pointed towards Iran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah and Kataeb Sayyid al-Shuhada at the border control point.
“These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
The airstrikes come after rocket attacks on US and coalition facilities in Iraq on a military complex in the Kurdish region’s capital Arbil on February 15 in which a civilian and a foreign contractor working with coalition forces were killed.
Pentagon said the strikes were “proportionate” and “conducted together with diplomatic measures”.
“The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel,” the Pentagon added.